People seem to get a little worked up when their birthday approaches. Children hold their birthdays in high esteem, or at least they do in our household, counting down the days until they can officially proclaim they are such-and-such years old. Yet as adults get older, apparently nobody likes to talk about their age. Adults seem to prefer time to stand still, or even go in reverse if possible.
I keep waiting for the day when I have my age crisis but my recent 34th birthday wasn’t it. I think it probably helps that my birthday falls smack dab in the middle of February which is one of the busier months on our ranch. A birthday at this time of year tends to come and go, much like all the other days, filled with stuff that needs to be done thanks to our calving cows and an impending bull sale. There are newborn calves to tag, cows to feed, pairs to sort, and assorted promotional and administrative tasks that make their way to the top of our priority lists. Our twin boys also celebrate a birthday in February so when you factor that in, as well as Valentine’s Day festivities that also rate highly with the younger folk, celebrations become a little hectic and are always infused with a speck or two of manure.
My birthday also tends to fall in the middle of school break. When I was a kid, this meant many of my friends were away from home skiing or travelling. As I got older, my birthday fell during university Reading Week break, which was a little more fun. This was back in the “olden days,” when my college-aged friends and I were busy munching on KD to stretch our tuition dollars or build our businesses. Instead of jetting off to Mexico or some other expensive Spring Break destination, we tended to congregate in our Rural Municipality homeland, reconnecting at the local Windsor Hotel for a visit, celebrating birthdays and whatever else was going on in our lives.
Of course, during one spring break, my Other Half and I did embark on a special birthday trip…to North Central Saskatchewan where we were enrolled in a bovine artificial insemination course. We had the good fortune to stay with my college roommate’s family, who just happened to host annual AI courses. For anyone unfamiliar with artificial insemination, you spend a good amount of time sticking your arm (shoulder deep) where the sun, ahem, doesn’t shine. It’s a darn good idea to remove your watch and rings beforehand. Given the good company, great food, ample manure, and my favourite chocolate cake with brown sugar icing, it was a grand birthday. On a similar note, for many years after we would regularly spend my birthday administering breeding soundness exams on our bulls. Again, this is a job that involves lots of time at the…business end of a breeding bull, shall we say. It’s a very important day and in keeping with the theme of my birthday festivities, there is a lot of manure.
This year, my birthday had a little bit of everything. I ended up spending the day in the city running errands and attending appointments. There wasn’t a lot of manure in my day, but I most definitely would have preferred it if there was. However I did enjoy a nice lunch out with my mom and daughter, complete with a birthday dessert mercifully served to me without the lacklustre restaurant birthday song that typically accompanies said dessert. Earlier that morning, I filed a nice article on leafy spurge, a noxious weed that I passionately despise, so that was kind of a birthday high point. And I enjoyed many greetings from friends and family, near and far, in person and virtually throughout the day and into the night.
On the birthday celebration continuum, my 34th fell pretty much in the middle, not the best but definitely not the worst. There was a dreaded trip to the city, but there was no age crisis and lots of baby calves and greetings, which is a pretty good gift in itself.