Yes, the title is a takeoff on Gary Allan’s airplane song (pun intended) but it works. My birthday was the Saturday past and my older sister’s birthday is on the Saturday to come. AKA Halloween. Once a person puts more miles behind them than they have left ahead of them reminiscing is a best practice in my opinion. Images of bicycles, puddle jumping, and tree climbing are far more appealing than oxygen tanks, wheelchairs and a sky-high pyramid of medicine bottles on the kitchen counter. Erk.

Mom always called each of us on our respective birthdays with the same message being part of our conversation. “?? years ago I was just getting ready to go to the hospital”. I haven’t heard the real deal since 2007, since mom passed in 2008, but I can still hear it in my head. A comfort that. She told us tales surrounding our births – how the mother of a child born about the same time as my eldest brother cursed her husband profusely all the way to the delivery room, but wound up having a total of eight or nine kids anyway. Or how my younger sister was nearly born in the labor room (these were ancient times when a mom-to-be was kept in the labor room until just before the birth was imminent, when she was moved to the delivery room for what the name implies). The only two present to assist with her delivery were my dad and a teenage Candy-striper (volunteer). The doctor was near to blowing a gasket, having arrived at the same time as baby sis, with no nurse in sight. Bet she got an earful at some point. My own story involved warm weather – a pleasant day when mom only needed to wear her red sweater to go to the hospital and to come home from it in. Not like this year.

My older sister and I are seven years apart. My aunt Hazel, one of my dad’s sisters, was pregnant at the same time as mom. After their monthly pre-natal check-ups they’d stop off somewhere and allow themselves a malt or some other fattening treat. Doc wasn’t going to weigh them again for a while, why not live it up? They always laughed when they told that story. My cousin Sherry arrived on Oct. 1 and my sister Vicki on Oct. 31. Built in playmates as well as cousins. It was like that throughout the family on both sides, with cousins either the same, or very close, in age to each of us. Multiples for my older sibs, a few for me and only one for my younger sib. Personally I was sandwiched between my cousins Lois and Jeannie, who lived in Chippewa Falls, and the same age as my cousin Marla, who lived in Stevens Point. All the local, or at least nearer by cousins of my age were boys. Maybe that’s why I’m such a tomboy to the core. Nah. I learned all that from my brother Dan. But I’m thinking it must have been nice for mom and the aunts to have someone to commiserate swollen ankles and expanding waistlines with. And the malts or milkshakes in like company probably helped the mood. Personally, I was drawn to the world of my uncles -- corner taverns, bottles of Orange Crush and bags of potato chips included.

Our childhoods were very different than those of today’s kiddos. We walked to school, regardless of weather. We played outside a great deal, regardless of weather. TV was limited. Video games non-existent. We didn’t always get what we wanted as far as toys went, but we had vivid imaginations. Today’s children seem so literal by comparison. Case in point: just the other day, in my role as recess monitor at the elementary school, I was in conversation with a youngster regarding the falling snow. I shared that I liked to sit in the house with all the inside lights off and all the outdoor lights on when snow was falling to watch it, all the while pretending I lived in a snow globe. The child first looked at me as if I had two heads, then very wisely informed me that snow globes are full of water to make it look as if its snowing so the likelihood of my drowning was high. And if the water didn’t get me the lack of oxygen certainly would since snow globes are totally encased, airtight, with glass or plastic tops. *sigh*

It’ll be dark soon. Snow is in the forecast. I’m going to take my chances no matter what the kid said.

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