Tag Archives: birthday

I Believe She Can Fly

Trapeze PicJewelry. A spa package. Something for the house. A lovely dinner. One might have guessed such an answer to my innocent question: What do you want for your birthday? But my wife said: Trapeze School. That was her immediate response. Like it wasn’t crazy at all.

She must have already attended Comedy School because she also asked if I wanted to join her on the flying trapeze. I thought that was hilarious, especially the way she acted like it was a serious question.

We drove to the Santa Monica Pier over the weekend so that my wife could celebrate her life by flirting with death in front of large numbers of lazy people who stopped to watch while stuffing their faces with nachos and funnel cakes. Me, I went with churros.

It was awesome. But then again, I really like churros.

But my wife was awesome, too. Jody spent a large chunk of our twenty-four years together avoiding physical activity and especially avoiding drawing attention to herself, but the last few years have witnessed a remarkable turn of events. She has claimed her spot in this life, and I was mesmerized last Saturday on that iconic boardwalk watching the woman I love sail across the bright blue sky like a boss in front of a cheering world.

Jody has many people who admire her, and cheer for her, and love her. But out of all those people, I was reminded on Saturday that I am the one lucky enough to have been chosen to live life as her partner. What an honor to stand on such solid ground and look up to watch her soar.

I don’t dare to imagine what she will want for her birthday next year. Apparently, the sky is not the limit.

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Jody

JodyToday is my wife’s birthday, and the specific number is none of your business (or, apparently, mine!).  Jody’s parents both worked as tax preparers back in 19-whenever when she made her grand entrance on April 14—talk about demanding attention from the very start!  She deserves a lot of attention.  Jody is, hands down, the most impressive person that I know.

I could list a thousand beautiful words that describe my wife, but let’s try a story instead.

Less than two years after we married, Jody was hired as a full-time houseparent at Children’s Homes, Inc., and I got to tag along for the ride.  Imagine the situation: a young married couple in their mid-twenties living with and “parenting” teenagers from a wide variety of challenging backgrounds.  Not sure who was more crazy–us or the people who hired us.  One evening early in our three years there, we were walking with several of the teenage girls at dusk when Jody and one of the girls got into it, and a battle of two very strong wills was on.  Given the body language of the two, my fear was that the battle would soon move beyond wills, and I should mention that the other combatant was about a foot taller and appeared to be twice as strong.  But there Jody stood in the growing darkness, eye-to-navel, looking up at the girl she was responsible for and yet somehow communicating that she would take her out in a second if anyone flinched.  None of us flinched.  There was never a question who would win.

Our daughters never really stood a chance with a mother like Jody who loves with such courage and ferocity.  She will stand up to anyone, anytime, anywhere for what is right, and particularly for (and if necessary, to) someone that she loves.  She is strength and beauty and goodness all wrapped up in one amazing person.

I can’t even imagine how many people are better because Jody decided to care for them.  I just know that I am at the top of the list.

The Party Spirit – Not Necessarily as Fun as It Sounds

george-washingtons-farewell-addressGeorge Washington’s 285th birthday is two days away, my how the time flies, but today marks the federal holiday in his honor.  Close to half of these United States extends the holiday to all presidents, but I live in one of the many states that sticks with the federal designation of “Washington’s Birthday” in honor of the man known as the father of this country.

Washington served as commander-in-chief of the Continental Army, a position he notably resigned after its stunning victory to retire to his farm in Virginia, but public service called again when he was elected as the new nation’s first president.  Washington never joined a particular political party, however, and warned against “the spirit of party” in his famous Farewell Address—an interesting admonition given today’s polarized society.

Washington argued that the party spirit is natural and pervasive and produces desires for (and acts of) revenge that lead a nation away from liberty and eventually toward despotism.  As a result, Washington argued that it is the “duty of a wise people to discourage and restrain” the party spirit.

“It serves always to distract the public councils and enfeeble the public administration. It agitates the community with ill-founded jealousies and false alarms, kindles the animosity of one part against another, foments occasionally riot and insurrection. It opens the door to foreign influence and corruption, which finds a facilitated access to the government itself through the channels of party passions. Thus the policy and the will of one country are subjected to the policy and will of another.”

Now it’s funny, I can picture readers from various political viewpoints reading much more into this than I intend.  My critique is of all and my point is simple: Encourage coming together, and discourage choosing up sides.  Unity good.  Polarization bad.  That would be my party platform should I have one, but ironically, a Unity Party is a contradiction in terms.

President Washington concluded his remarks on the party spirit with the following dire warning: “A fire not to be quenched, it demands a uniform vigilance to prevent its bursting into a flame, lest, instead of warming, it should consume.”

Thanks for the heads-up, Mr. General President Washington.  And happy birthday.

On This Date: 09/16/16

happy-national-guacamole-day-todayshow

First, and importantly, Happy National Guacamole Day!

On this date in 1620 the Mayflower set sail from England with Captain Christopher Jones and crew and their 102 passengers.  About half lived long enough to step foot on land again.

On this date in 1810 a Roman Catholic priest rang the church bells in Dolores, Mexico, and urged the people to revolt and launched the war that led to Mexico’s independence from Spain.

On this date in 1908, at age forty-six, William C. Durant invested $500,000 to create General Motors.  Durant went bankrupt during the Great Depression and reportedly ended up managing a bowling alley in Flint, Michigan, in his eighties.

On this date in 1959 Xerox introduced the first copy machine to the world on live television.  The 914 model featured “scorch eliminators” since they periodically burst into flames and marketers thought that the word “fire” in fire extinguisher was a bad idea.¹

On this date in 1970 yours truly was born in Arkansas, completing the little Sturgeon family.  Little me snagged the same birthday as legends like Lauren Bacall, B.B. King, Elgin Baylor, David Copperfield, and exactly one year later, Amy Poehler.

I find all of this interesting, particularly the part involving my birth.  But to be honest, I’m more interested in what will happen on this date.  Today.  September 16, 2016.

What will you do with this gift of a day?  Maybe you’ll do something to make the history books, but my hope is that you do something world-changing that won’t.  The greatest moments in life are those quiet treasures like investing time in the life of a child, getting to know someone different from you, sharing with someone who is living without, and lending your friendship to someone who is lonely.

We will all do something on this date, but once this day is in the books, will anyone care to remember?

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¹ Hemmungs Wirtén, Eva (2004). No Trespassing: Authorship, Intellectual Property Rights, and the Boundaries of Globalization. University of Toronto Press. p. 61.