When I was little, having my birthday on the 4th meant that my Grandpa Joe would be throwing a big party at his house up on Golf Hill. I loved having my birthday on the fourth, because that meant I got to go swimming, eat chips and salsa, and get a flag birthday cake (made by my Mom traditionally each year!).
At the party, I would run around talking to all of my grandpa’s friends that had come, thanking them for coming to my birthday. Most would laugh in a “isn’t she cute” type of way but some would give me money and pretend that this is the true reason they were there. It wasn’t uncommon for Grandpa to have a house full of people and a pool full of kids on this fun day! One year, he even had jazz legend Jay McShann, a close friend of his, play me Happy Birthday in his study upstairs.
My younger brother Joe could never understand why he also didn’t get fireworks on his birthday or why no one put the flags out to celebrate him. It was at this point that it had to be explained that they weren’t actually doing it for my birthday, but the nation’s birthday instead. Mom then started putting the flag out for Joe’s birthday, too. Which was nice.
Today I turn 35. When I told my daughter Mackenzie this she said, “You could run for president!” When I was growing up, this is what I would tell everyone who would ask me the famous question, “What do you want to be when you grow up?” I would always respond with, “The first woman president!” I thought my opportunity was up after watching Hillary Clinton run last year, but I suppose the world is still giving me that chance.
Me with my brother Joe on my birthday a few years back.