Sunday, December 28, 2014


It’s my birthday month!

Here are some birthday facts:

I was born feet first. My mother liked to tell me that if I had been born in a primitive country they would have left me on a flat rock to starve to death or be eaten by dingoes. To this day I have an irrational fear of flat rocks.

When my father was told he had a daughter he said a bad word, which my mother recorded in my baby book. I suspect the last three words I will say in this lifetime will be bad. It's in my DNA.

My baby brother was born fifteen months after me. He bit me a lot. In all my baby pictures I’m wearing long sleeves to cover the bite marks. The official story is that my brother was colicky, but I suspect demon possession and foul play.

I grew up small, wearing a size two in the first grade, and big kids used to sit on me on the school bus. I never climbed the rope, but I could read before anybody else in my class.

In high school, I attracted my husband by wearing pink shorts and a pink “Sweet Honesty” t-shirt. I haven’t worn pink shorts in a very long time, but I still wear “Sweet Honesty” perfume. He’s still attracted.

We married and had four children—none of which were born feet first—but all of which have birthdays and belly buttons.

I spent the WORST birthday of my life hanging from the second story eaves of our house in North Carolina, cleaning the gutters out before the big ice storm froze the water and gutter sludge in the gutters, forcing it up under the shingles, causing our roof to leak. It had already started to sleet when Sherwood made me climb the ladder, because he was too tubby to climb the ladder, and I wasn’t strong enough to hold a tubby man on a two-story ladder.

It was terrible. There were frozen earthworms in those filthy gutters, and my gloves iced over in minutes, if not seconds. I couldn’t move my fingers, so I just sort of clubbed the icy muck out with my hands frozen into rigor-mortis claws. I cried. The tears froze to my cheeks. I sad bad words and condemned my husband’s use of procrastination as an alternative lifestyle choice. I turned forty-four that day and aged twelve years.

The moral of the story is that it would have cost forty-bucks to have a truck full of ethnic gentlemen from Mexico clean out our gutters. They were sad when I didn’t hire them. I was sad too.

This year was a good birthday year. I turned fifty-plus, mowed the yard, and cleaned out the chicken coop.

It could have been a lot worse, believe me. My family could have put me out on an ice flow shaped like a flat rock.

Linda (Birthday Babe) Zern

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