Birthday boy finds reality

The past week marked a milestone in my life as I was fortunate to have passed another birthday. I say fortunate because like most people, there have been events in my life which could have cut my years here on earth short thereby depriving so many people of my loving and kind presence. Well, something like that anyway.

Birthdays always bring up the question of gifts and although no gift would be considered too large, I don’t really need anything at this point in life.

When I first met Trixie, she came with a great personality and some ideas that any man in his right mind could buy into. One of these is the idea of gifts.

Our first Christmas together I was faced with the dilemma that all men face: what to get our partners. For women, it’s an easy matter. There are sporting goods magazines scattered around the master’s  La-Z-Boy throne and simply finding the tattered page or circled item is a cinch for the smart woman.

For men however, it’s very hard to know what to do. Most of us could not afford a big diamond and a little one just shows your lack of caring. Cookware is a definite no-no and we don’t understand that as we love to get tools for our shop what woman wouldn’t love to get tools for the kitchen? Trying to buy a negligee is risky business not only to picking the size but style. Get one too big and you are in trouble, too small and she thinks you are sending a message.

I would shy away from that department in a store as it has been known to raise a few eyebrows when a virile American male is seen pawing through the silk undies.

So there I was faced with our first Christmas together no idea what to buy Trixie. Suddenly she introduced what is known as the “gift rule.” My understanding at the time was under this rule, one cannot give a gift unless it was handmade. And further, no gifts were to be expected.

I knew I had found the perfect woman at that point. We went along blissfully for a year or so as Ol’ Dutch was happy as a lark not giving a thought for tomorrow or some date that I was sure to miss.

I had reached a level of comfort not found ever before in my life when suddenly I was informed that I had “misunderstood” the “rule.” On Trixie’s birthday I gave her a peck on the cheek and said, “Happy Birthday” thinking nothing more of it.

That night, however, I was given the full explanation of the rule. Remembering someone’s  birthday requires more than a “Happy Birthday.” Gifts, preferably handmade, are encouraged. These gifts can be poems, songs or dinner. A gift can ever be purchased if the recipient has been wanting it for a long time.

Now Ol’ Dutch wasn’t born yesterday as can be seen by the number of candles on his birthday cake. He knows when the plan changes and brought this up to management. It seems that once again, my memory is blamed on not getting the details and we all know “the Devil is in the details.”

And boy was he in these details. I barely escaped with my scalp over my handling of her birthday. Last week, I faced my birthday knowing that Trixie would be employing her rules to gift giving.

She informed me that we had started a tradition last year for my children and grandchildren that all birthdays should be celebrated for at least a week. I guess I missed that memo, too.

But, start my birthday week did -- and, with fireworks. My son and daughter-in-law gave me the best homemade present you can imagine: a new granddaughter. And, I’m still celebrating.

So, maybe there is something to be said for this extended birthday celebration, after all. But, don’t tell Trixie or I’ll never hear the end of it.