Kickass, the doorstop dog, accepts the keeper’s report on the combined Saturday birthday celebration of great-granddaughter Margo and wife Phyllis on the windy Mazomanie hilltop where the keeper and Phyllis once lived and where Margo now lives with her parents Ari and Andy. It was a gala affair, complete with piñata suspended from one of the old oaks along the driveway, a bonfire, a delicious meal by Ari and Andy, birthday cake by Kim, and a brief speech by the keeper in which he suggested that solving the problem of the persistent cold wind would be to abandon the smoky bonfire and go into the house for some birthday wine.
Margo, at five-years-old and Phyllis at–oh, never mind, it’s just a number–both distinguished themselves in beating holes in the piñata. In what would have to be considered a mark of cultural progress, there was no mention of the old “birthday” spanking custom the keeper remembers from his childhood, particularly one administered by muscular uncles.
It was a great party there on the Mazo hilltop where the keeper built his dream house twenty- plus years ago, and that now echoes with the joyous shrieks of his namesakes. Sometimes when life moves on, it does it with grace, dispensing gifts that transcend birthdays and make it easier to reset personal clocks to the ultimate daylight saving time.