Saturday, August 25, 2007

Lucky Birthday

[memories evoked by the Sunday Scribblings prompt "I get that sinking feeling..."]

Someone, I don't remember who, told me that my 15th birthday would be lucky because it fell on the 15th day of the month. I do recall that I wanted to go to the zoo for my birthday. Mom and Daddy and my younger brother and I, we went to the city that day, 70 miles away. Mom drove, as always.

I think I had a pretty good time, but it did rain, and it was a little foggy - definitely unusual for the summer. I don't remember many details from that part of the trip, but I get vague flashes of a rhinoceros, and a building where they were growing mushrooms, but I may be confusing that with something else. I know lunch was a hot dog standing under the eaves of a building because all the seats were out in the rain.

The original plan was to leave the zoo and return home. Note I said "original."

Daddy was going to attend some kind of upcoming meeting in a town about 10 miles outside the city and didn't know how to get there. Mom was very familiar with that area since it had some very large shopping malls, something new to the area back then. So Mom took us on a detour to point out to Daddy how to get where he needed.

I was a little bummed out from the weather, and tired from walking around, and I was fifteen (and probably just generally moody). I don't know if I got "that sinking feeling" but perhaps I should have.

You see, as Mom was driving and pointing something out to Daddy, she turned a little sooner than she had intended and ran the car into the concrete median. Then the car didn't sound right and we pulled over into the nearest parking lot (tons of those around, being in mall-land at the end of a day). We later found out that the impact had pushed the fan back into the radiator, causing the latter to crack. Not good.

The four of us were still 60 miles from home. This was in the days before cell phones, so we located a pay phone. One call to someone to tow the car to the dealer my mom used in the city. Then a couple of calls to folks who lived in our hometown to see if anyone was able to come collect our family of four to take us home. We finally did track down one of my dad's employees, but they weren't able to leave right away (don't remember why). We set a time and a place to meet.

By then the car had been picked up by the tow truck and we headed off on foot in search of dinner. Since the area was geared to keeping people happy through retail, we had our pick of national chain restaurants and we picked one of the nicer ones (a real treat) and had dinner "out." Somehow the charm was a little lost on me, being in a bad mood and all. I guess I was feeling sorry for myself.

After dinner our "ride" picked us up. The employee had her husband with her. The two of them picked up the four of us and boy! was that car full on the way back home. I was probably still somewhat grumpy, but as long as no one tried to talk to me, I was probably just silent and well, almost pleasant-enough.

I knew it was nice that my family could spend my birthday with me, and that we could take a trip, and that the weather wasn't a TOTAL washout, and no one got hurt in the accident and we didn't go hungry and we had friends who would spend two hours out of their day off to do us a favor. I KNEW that. But I still considered the day, on the balance, to be awful. It still felt that all that luck of my 15th birthday on the 15th of the month - all that luck was bad luck.

I think I'm somewhat better at rolling with the punches now. But if anyone tells me a day is going to be lucky, I am extra careful.


JHS. said...

Funny how those experiences stay with us over the years, isn't it? You had a lot to be thankful for that day, but it still wasn't ideal and that's what we all want on our birthday!

I won't ever leave a comment predicting luck. Swear. :-)

sister AE said...


Fledgling Poet said...

Aww, I'm sorry your "15th on the 15th" wasn't exactly what you were hoping for. My own daughter was so excited this year that she was turning "16 on the 16th", and she too kept saying how lucky it was a pretty darn good birthday for her, though, I must say. :~)

sister AE said...

Thanks, F.P. I'm glad her luck was all good luck.

Bonnie Jacobs said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Bonnie Jacobs said...

You mention going to the zoo, so this could be added to Weekend Wordsmith's ZOO prompt here:

Because so few of us are doing it, we have given ourselves permission to write about ANY word at ANY time we think of it. And we post what we have written earlier, if we find something that applies. We don't mind double-linking, so add this one about your un- (oops! about your) Lucky Birthday to our list of zoo related links.

sister AE said...

Thanks, Bonnie. I love visiting zoos so I'm pretty sure I will come up with a different post for that. But thanks for the idea.

gautami tripathy said...

Days are not lucky or unlucky. It is our perception of it. Anything can go wrong at any time. Similarly we take right things for granted.

sister AE said...

Hi, Gautami,
I agree with what you say. It does not, however, keep me from delighting in the unexpectedly good things, or the occasional pout over the unexpectedly bad.