hgazette.com, Haverhill, MA

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April 18, 2013

Letting a birthday cat out of the bag

Sooner or later, we all want the same thing for our birthday — not to be reminded of it.

I can see a child looking forward to an annual milestone, given the gifts and cake, but seniors like myself may be a tad above that stage, as are a wife or two out there.

Women tend to be a little more sensitive about birthday reminders then men. Oh? You have trouble remembering dates?

The only sure way to remember your wife’s birthday is to forget it just once. They’ll refresh your memory and head out to buy themselves that dress you didn’t bother to buy.

On a cruise recently, a night didn’t pass when the waiters all formed a serpent’s line to somebody’s dinner table with cake in hand to sing a rousing birthday song, while the guest of honor cowered under the table.

I don’t need a refresher course to remind myself of my wife’s birthday. We chose that day to exchange nuptials. I couldn’t think of a better day to tie the knot than the day she was born.

Smart thinking, eh? That way, one gift serves both occasions. In the beginning, it got to be mind-boggling. Would we do a weekend get-away from the kids or buy each other a household necessity?

These days, it’s a movie or the theater, complemented with dinner at some cozy restaurant. The best gift of all is hearing the grandchildren’s voices on the telephone singing “Happy Birthday” and “Happy Anniversary.”

But honestly, it’s become just another day in our lives. We give each other a smooch and then go down to breakfast, burying our heads in the morning paper like any other day.

“You feel a year older?’’ I might ask.

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