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Adams: Remember, remember

Posted: November 8, 2017 - 3:09am

Scorpios, it is said, are loyal, passionate, resourceful, determined and intuitive. Scorpios concern themselves with beginnings and endings, yet fear neither. I'm a Scorpio, and it's this time in the middle, between the beginning and the end, that's giving me fits.

On Election Day 1968, my mother waddled to the end of our driveway and installed a mailbox, my dad worked the polls, my older brother spent his last hours as an only child, and Richard Nixon defeated Hubert Humphrey in the presidential election. Except for that, it was a Tuesday like any other. Except for being a Tuesday like any other, it was a perfect storm and I was born.

Remember, remember the 5th of November: Guy Fawkes put my birthday on the calendar long before it was my birthday. He did what he could to plot against parliament and make the date infamous. Not everyone is born under auspices, good, bad or otherwise. I should be grateful.

At the same time, however, that my family chides, "We can't spend all our grocery money on birthday candles," people across the "pond" chant, "Burn him, burn him" while setting fire to effigies. I wager the 5th of November might be a day to forget. My husband says it won't be long before I do.

1968 was both a leap year and the Year of the Monkey. According to Chinese tradition, people born in this year are erratic geniuses, clever, skillful, and flexible. They are remarkably inventive and original. They solve the most difficult problems with ease but have a bad habit of being too agreeable. Monkey people are endowed with a generous portion of common sense, a deep desire for knowledge, an excellent memory, a hot temper, and fast forgiveness.

This monkey business explains a lot. Fortunately, I'm also Tuesday's child. Tuesday's child is full of grace... except on my birthday. Except when my parents have conversations that make me feel 14 again.

"That McDonald's looks familiar," says my mother.

"It sure does," agrees my father, squinting through the car's windshield at the iconic yellow arches specific to every McDonald's.

"Have you ever seen a McDonald's that didn't look familiar," I ask, infusing reality and adolescence into the debate. "They all look alike."

Ignoring me, my parents continue to banter. "I think we've been there before. Why did we stop there," my mother asks my father.

"I think we got something to eat," my father replies.

We're all getting older, I think. For most of my life, time stood still. My parents didn't age. I didn't age. We were just us. But another birthday will pass on Sunday. I'll burn down a cake while my London cousins burn up straw men.

It's like Richard Nixon, the Year of the Monkey, Guy Fawkes, Tuesday, and my astrological sign came into perfect alignment as my mother put the finishing touches on the mailbox at the end of the driveway almost half a century ago. Then I was born. The forces that shaped my beginning appraised their work, bid me to enjoy many trips to McDonald's, and abandoned me to the whims of whatever happened next. So look out, world, because this time between the beginning and the end is absolutely giving me fits.

(Lucy Adams is the author of "Tuck Your Skirt in Your Panties and Run" and other books. She lives in Thomson, Ga. Email Lucy at lucyadams.writer@gmail.com.)

 

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