Candles, cake, and the crazy family

My daddy-o had his birthday today.

Whenever we were little and his birthday came around, we used to ask how old he was, and he’d answer soberly, but with eyes twinkling, “I’m twenty-seven now.” And we’d giggle and protest, “Noo, you’re not! How old are you really?”

Twenty-seven is his favorite age. “Why twenty-seven?” we still ask curiously, even now, from time to time. The answer invariably remains the same: “Because your mother and I got married that year! And I was young and handsome, and I had all my hair back then.” And here he always self-deprecatingly pats his bald spot with both hands, while we laugh and roll our eyes, Ohh Daddy.

In deference to his reluctance to grow older, we celebrated his 27½-th birthday last year. That way, he could go up in small increments. This year, we decided to try something a little different. Instead of twenty-seven, we figured, why not go backwards a little? So we went to the bakery and, after the usual hemming and hawing, picked out a cake for him. The lady at the bakery stared at us blankly when we asked her to decorate the cake with, Happy 26th Birthday, Daddy! I explained, “What can I say, we do things kinda backwards in my family,” and she started laughing, too.

The best part was watching him cut the cake. (After he had blown out the candles, of course.) A beautiful rectangular cake, and the crazy man, instead of cutting square pieces like normal people do, instead eyed the cake gleefully and began cutting triangular pieces.

My sister rolled her eyes and shook her head in mock disapproval, then glanced across at me and laughed, “So this is where you get your non-conformity from!”

Yes, it’s hereditary; that’s exactly where I get it from.

In case you were wondering.

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