Birthday Day

Last year, today, Dad took me and a crew of friends out for dinner.  We had a lot of wine and listened to a couple of guys who looked like the Fleetwood Mac guys sing songs about love and flowers and dark nights and bright stars and lemon trees and jet planes and fast cars and brown eyes.  Outside the restaurant, someone drove close enough to my car that their passenger-side mirror cracked and broke my driver-side mirror (at least, I assume that’s what happened).  The skeleton of the mirror was unharmed.  While the plastic shattered, the metal held tight.  And, oddly, the mirror’s glass, though it fell from three feet up to the pavement, did not break.  It lay on the street next to the car.  Wires that heat the glass to keep it defrosted dangled from the skeleton.  I wasn’t sure what to do.

In 1969 Neil Armstrong walked on the moon.  Woodstock happened in 1969.  Sesame Street aired for the first time in November.  I was born in October.  Dad was in New York.  Mom was rushed to Dubuque, Iowa.  I was born in the morning.  Dad arrived in the afternoon.  On the plane, flying between New York and the midwest, Dad told the fellow next to him that he was going to see his newborn son.  The man told Dad that someone had stolen his London Fog raincoat.  Nixon was the president.  Jimi Hendrix was still alive.  I imagine shirtless long hairs, high, smiling, riding bareback on white horses.  My Uncle Steve does tile work in Sullivan County, New York.  Woodstock wasn’t in Woodstock.

Dad bought some packing tape and he reconnected the wires and taped that glass back to the skeleton and the heat worked to keep the mirror defrosted and the glass worked like any mirror would… I could see what was behind me in it.  I still can.  It still works.  It’s still taped.  It doesn’t take much, although I have had to replace some pieces (the messiness is my handiwork — I need to learn to work with my hands).

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