On this, the eve of another holiday, I always have a rather strange recurring thought, especially when I see those lists in my hometown paper which enumerates those celebrity birthdays on a holiday. Of course, the older I get, the fewer names I recognize, but I’m assuming they have indeed had conferred upon them by someone their celebrity status. That brings to mind what my friend Meredith Fessler once told me regarding those lists, using the hook line of the popular comic strip “Pluggers,” created in 1993 by Jeff MacNelly. According to Meredith, you know you’re a plugger when no one on those lists under the age of 40 is familiar to you.
In doing a little Google research for today’s offering, I found as being of greatest interest when it comes to those New Year’s birthdays, Paul Revere, the patriot silversmith who alerted the colonial militia of those approaching Brits before our famous dustups in Lexington and Concord. And, especially given the time in which he lived, long before medical advances have pushed life-expectancy numbers higher and higher, the subject of Longfellow’s poem “Paul Revere’s Ride” surely enjoyed his share of those New Year’s birthdays, living to the age of 83 when so many of his contemporaries were checking out before they could blow out 50 candles.
As for those who share their birthday with America’s favorite furball on Groundhog Day, there are a couple of beauties, one now gone and one still here. While Farrah Fawcett, she of a very famous poster that hung on many dorm walls in my collegiate times, left us some seven years ago, Christie Brinkley, however, continues to share her day with Punxsutawney Phil or, if you’re a tried and true Buckeye, our own groundhog knockoff, Buckeye Chuck, Marion’s most famous four-legged resident.
As for St. Patrick’s Day, of course, an Irish name is appropriate, as in Patrick Duffy, who once upon a time played the fraternal moral foible in Bobby Ewing on a wildly popular nighttime soap, “Dallas,” to Larry Hagman’s villainous J.R. Flashing back a bit further, there was also the singer born on March 17 whose velvet-infused baritone voice was silenced at just 45 years old of lung cancer in 1965, Nat King Cole. While he surely conquered so much in the way of racism to reach the top of his profession, Cole, a heavy smoker, couldn’t seen to conquer his tobacco yearnings.
As for Halloween’s famous birthdays, there is one that mattered to all of us in the summer of 1969. That birthday belongs to former astronaut Michael Collins, the oft-forgotten third astronaut who piloted Apollo 11 and orbited the moon as Wapak’s own Neil Armstrong and his mate Buzz Aldrin famously bounced across the lunar surface.
As for Christmas birthdays, the ones that so many kids grumble about because their special day often becomes lost in the larger scheme of things, a couple of well-known footballers arrived on Dec. 25, Kenny “The Snake” Stabler, who left us in 2015, and the bruising running back Larry Csonka. Oh, and let’s not forget my favorite gravity guy, Sir Isaac Newton born on a 17th-century Dec. 25.
Then there are those holidays that move about the calendar a bit, such as tomorrow’s ode to thankfulness, turkey and pigskin affairs. And, for that, I’ve reserved just one slot for my gumdrop granddaughter, Caroline, who’ll gather around our holiday table feeling all grown up at 7 years old on the day that marks the second time she’s shared her big day with a 12-pound bird!
And, for that, I am exceedingly thankful. So, to all of you, especially those who may have one of those holiday birthdays, please have a restful and familial fourth Thursday in November.
John Grindrod is a regular columnist for The Lima News and Our Generation’s Magazine, a freelance writer and editor and the author of two books. Reach him at [email protected]