Wednesday, December 26, 2018

#360 / Cumpleaños

Some birthdays seem a little bit more significant than others. There is that eighteenth birthday, of course, which now confers the right to vote, and putative adulthood. Back in the day, it was a twenty-first birthday. At least, that's how I remember it.

I am pretty sure that I considered my twenty-first birthday quite significant. When I hit twenty-one, I could legally drink alcohol! Of course, since I don't drink alcohol, and never did (there have been a few exceptions), that wasn't the big thing for me. In those days, so long ago, a twenty-first birthday endowed a person who had reached that pinnacle of advanced age with official status as a potential voter. That person was definitely considered an adult, even though he or she was still pursuing an undergraduate college degree, as I was. I think my twentieth birthday was my first "big" birthday.

Wait a minute! I forgot something! On my eighteenth birthday, I became eligible for the military draft, and was advised that my country might soon call upon me to go out and kill people. That did strike me as significant! A few years later, the country did officially ask me to do that, too. I would like to think I was respectful, but I refused that direction!

Some people think a thirtieth birthday is particularly significant. Those are really young people. A person's fiftieth birthday is bound to be considered significant by those still anticipating that anniversary (both my daughter and my son are in that category). A fortieth birthday, and a sixtieth birthday, also have a claim to importance. At least in my case, my seventieth birthday slipped by with scarcely a recognition that this milestone had any significance at all.

I am not feeling the same way about my seventy-fifth birthday. I am thinking that this one - it is today, incidentally - carries some sort of special import. Look at the picture below. It appeared in one of my earlier blog postings. This is what San Francisco looked like on the day I was born. At least, more or less.

I can't absolutely promise that the scene depicted below was captured by the photographer on December 26, 1943. The picture was taken in 1943, however, and on this day in that year I was born in San Francisco. My mother, Alma Bracken Patton, told me she was delighted that I finally showed up (late). My father, Philips Bowerman Patton, also assured me, as long as he was alive, that my arrival was a blessing.

Blessing is the word I think of now, as I wake up in the morning on my seventy-fifth birthday. My truly sincere thanks to everyone I have known: my wife Marilyn, my two children Sonya Drottar and Philips Dilworth Patton, my grandchildren, Dylan, Delaney, and Jay, and all those whom I have been so privileged to know and work with in my life. If your name is not specifically listed (as it almost certainly is not) that doesn't mean I don't know who you are. You know who you are, too! Love and hugs and kisses to you all. And many thanks for your friendship, and comradeship, and your love and support!

This birthday does seem significant. I am already enjoying it. I hope there are still a few more coming!

Image Credit:


  1. Wow, are you really that old? I agree on 75...mine was a year and a half ago...and I thought about the past 55 years as an adult, 24 of them in Santa Cruz. It has been my lucky circumstance to have known you a little bit but mostly follow your work in the public sector, especially as a County Supervisor.

  2. Happy Birthday, kid. But,.., did you really name your son after David Dilworth?

  3. Hi Gary! I hope a day later you are still celebrating. Thank you for your compassion and your insights. Keep them coming!

  4. I hope you have as many more birthdays as you want! Happy happy birthday...(belated)


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