Friday, January 28, 2011

Life and Death and Cake

It's one of those days etched in my memory. Well, it's a weird sort of day, because it has a bit of a bridge to next week as well.

Today, of course was the day the Challenger exploded. Next week on my birthday, the Columbia disintegrated on its way back from a mission. I was in a Vegas hotel when I learned the news of the second, in my sixth grade class when I learned the news of the first when they wheeled in a TV for us to watch it launch and explode over and over again.

While the details are a little fuzzy in my brain, I'm pretty certain that this was the date my grandfather passed away. He was in a Reno hotel on a gambling trip and just didn't wake up. His funeral was on my birthday. We went to TGI Fridays after the burial. Hated that place for years, even if what little I can remember it was a joyous, happy time for everyone but me where lots of family gathered together at a big long table in the middle of the restaurant. I imagine they were joyful because they were remembering what a great guy he was and happy that he was no longer in the daily pain he endured from a silly thing he did as a teenager. But I just remember looking at the balloons and blinking traffic lights and street signs and stuffed bears and thinking what an awful place this is and how can you all be sitting here laughing and having fun. Perhaps it explains my extreme hatred of and discomfort around clutter and why I don't like making a big deal of my own birthday.

Of course, it's also Carol's birthday (the person, not the cat, though the cat was named after her). Happy Birthday, Carol M., wherever you are.
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