As with gardens, so go my friends—Mine are true garden variety, NOT by way of the expression (which as it’s used, means ordinary or usual), but by way of the variety each brings to my life, MOST individually expressed come birthday time.
I have those who will drink with me…Those who will think with me…And I even have those who will stink with me, which is to say, it was a farm chore kinda day and it was all done in celebration of my birthday.
When asked “What do you want for your birthday?” I have learned to think creatively, for different friends bring different gifts (and by gifts, I mean talents more than anything material presented with wrapping and bows). Depending on your time, your flexibility and the tasks I have on tap, I just might take your offer literally, so don’t be tossing me such questions if you aren’t ready for me to shoot you straight.
Case in point: it was a delightful evening spent with my mother and one of our dearest mutual friends, who together, secured tickets for a perfect TPAC evening complete with cake and presents afterwards (and a perfect evening it was). It was likewise the perfect gift, to have Mexican with friends discussing everything from working projects to worldly concerns. It was yet another great gift, when the next day found me speaking s at a women’s conference, to have a friend with the best designer clothing store ever, graciously dressed me so I would step on the stage stress free for knowing I had been dressed by the best, (my latest wardrobe purchases having mostly come from Tractor Supply.)
But to cap off my weekend, when asked by another long-time friend just what I’d like for my birthday, I was again, blatantly honest when offering up an answer: What I really needed was help lifting hay and folding a tarp securing some rotting bales stacked last fall. Given the week ahead holds back to back meetings, magazine interviews and photo shoots, (not to mention rain in the forecast) I needed physical brawn, so brawn is what I got. (Only a true friend would drive for an hour here and back to spend an afternoon sweating with you while moving half rotting hay bales and burning a variety of half eaten animals that Rosey gifted me with over the course of the past 2 weeks.)
I kid you not. When my dear friend arrived, Rosey greeted him with the breath of a half eaten buzzard (with talons the length of my foot…We know. We found one leg.) Add 2 half rotted squirrels found in the garden and the skull of something I can only assume was a deer, (though it may’ve been a fox. Possibly a coyote even. All I know was it had a lot of teeth…Otherwise, it was too far gone to say)…well, you start to get the (scratch and sniff) picture.
In addition to the odors of half eaten animals Rosey finds preferable to the colorful stuffed critters TJ is content to play with from Goodwill, we weren’t exactly pockets of freshness ourselves, having crafted fires, hauled some hay and rolled said tarp after an afternoon of raking, sweeping and burning everything from last fall's leaves to straw caked in goat poop. Not exactly a fragrant afternoon…(though I did get a lavender candle out of the deal. Now is that a friend or what?)
Birthdays in my world are seldom covered in a day. They often go a week, if not the entire month, which is fine by me. And while delighted by all things traditional…the trinkets and bobbles, the clothing, cards and meals, the one common denominator I cherish most is time spent with those who’ve taken time to share in such occasions, even if what we’re doing while sharing said time, involves some less than traditional (though highly creative) means of celebrating.