2010.11.17 One more year

Written by David Green.

“Ah, but I was so much older then, I’m younger than that now.”

- Bob Dylan


What’s so important about reaching a new decade, anyway? I don’t recall any big deal about turning 10 years old. It was just another birthday.

That’s how I tried to portray last week’s event when I reached my sixth decade. Just another year—with fewer left ahead.

Actually, when I reached 10 years old, I had already completed a decade and was embarking on my second one. So now, at 60, I’m starting on my seventh. Suddenly I feel older.

Birthdays are different in the age of Facebook. People who never before knew your birthday are wishing you the best.

“Hope today was as great as you wanted it to be.”

“I will always remember you as my ‘young neighbor’ when I was a child.”

“Holy crap! It’s your birthday!” (that was my wife)

“Happy birthday, even if it is deadline day.”

That one came after my preëmptive warning that my birthday was falling on a busy Tuesday this year. After a couple “happy birthdays” arrived early, I stated that I would not be celebrating. I suggested, instead, that people observe Spiro Agnew’s birthday.

“Hope you have a great day celebrating Spiro T. Agnew’s birthday, just as I celebrate Fidel Castro’s birthday every year.”

For years I’ve pointed out that Spiro Theodore Agnew’s birthday is also Nov. 9. We share that day, but little else. Younger readers won’t remember him as vice president under Richard Nixon.

Eventually, not even Nixon was satisfied with his choice of Agnew. When he was asked by an aide why he decided against replacing Agnew on the ticket for his 1972 reëlection, Nixon reportedly joked by saying that no assassin in his right mind would kill him because then they would get Agnew.

Here’s your political trivia item for the day: The other vice presidential candidate in 1972, Sargent Shriver—the driving force behind the Peace Corps—was also born Nov. 9.

There are several lists of celebrity birthdays and it’s interesting to see how different they are. Queen Isabella of Valois—a celebrity from the 1390s if ever there was one—made the famous birthday list from HistoryOrb.com but failed to be mentioned at BrainyHistory.com.

Both websites list Agnew as “39th vice president, crook.” Very well put.

Maybe it’s time to ditch Spiro and go with someone new. There are so many choices. Ivan Turgenev, Russian writer. Emile Gaboriau, father of the French detective novel. Lewis Lewin, father of pyschopharmacology and the first scientist to undertake a methodical analysis of the peyote cactus.

Actress Hedwig Eva Maria Kiesler (Heddy Lamarr). Singer Tom Fogerty of Creedence Clearwater Revival. Singer Mary Travers of Peter, Paul and Mary. Singer Choi Dong-Wook, known as Se7en in Korea.

Baseball manager Whitey Herzog. Blues singer Carl Perkins. Baseball pitcher Bob Gibson. Ohio senator Sherrod Brown. Victoria Keil, 1996 Miss Universe candidate from Cook Islands. Child molesterer Roger Lee Jones.

Here’s the youngest one: Cheyenne Pyle, youngest heart transplant patient at age 90 minutes.

I’m sure it’s the same for anyone’s birthday if you check it out. A host of famous political figures, writers, military leaders, sports stars, actors, criminals—they’re born every day of the year.

Instead of Agnew, maybe I should go with astronomer Carl Sagan or comedian Ed Wynn known as “the Perfect Fool.” Or better yet, poet Anne Sexton (“Put your ear down close to your soul and listen hard.”)

My wife slipped the “geezer” birthday ad into last week’s paper without me seeing it. There was a lot in last week’s paper that I didn’t see. As deadline day progressed, it became more and more challenging. Believe me, it was no birthday. We were 40 minutes late and slapped some things together pretty quickly at the end.

Looking ahead, I’m expecting some injuries in my 60th year as I try to prove that I’m not a geezerly 60. Climb a water tower? No problem. New hobby? Why not tight-rope walking.

And you know what they say: Never trust anyone over 80.

  • Front.poles
    MOVING EAST—Utility workers continue their slow progress east along U.S. 20 south of Morenci. New electrical poles are put in place before wiring is moved into place.
  • Front.cowboy
    A PERFORMER named Biligbaatar, a member of the AnDa Union troupe from Inner Mongolia, dances at Stair District Library last week during a visit to the Midwest. The nine-member group blends a variety of traditions from Inner and Outer Mongolia. The music is described as drawing from “all the Mongol tribes that Genghis Khan unified.” The group considers itself music gatherers whose goal is to preserve traditional sounds of Mongolia. Biligbaatar grew up among traditional herders who live in yurts. Additional photos are on the back page of this week’s Observer.
  • Front.base Ball
    UMPIRE Thomas Henthorn tosses the bat between team captains Mikayla Price and Chuck Piskoti of Flint’s Lumber City Base Ball Club. Following the 1860 rules, after the bat was grabbed by the captains, captains’ hands advanced to the top of the bat—one hand on top of the other. The captain whose hand ended up on top decided who would bat first. Additional photos of Sunday’s game appear on page 12 of this week’s Observer. The contest was organized in conjunction with Stair District Library’s Hometown Teams exhibit that runs through Nov. 20.
  • Front.chat
    VALUE OF ATHLETICS—Morenci graduate John Bancroft (center) takes a turn at the microphone during a chat session at the opening of the Hometown Teams exhibit at Stair District Library. Clockwise to his left is John Dillon, Jed Hall, Jim Bauer, Joe Farquhar, George Hollstein, George Vereecke and Mike McDowell. Thomas Henthorn (at the podium) kicked off the conversation. Henthorn, a University of Michigan–Flint professor, will return to Morenci this Sunday to lead a game of vintage base ball at the school softball field.
  • Front.cross
    HUDSON RUNNER Jacob Morgan looks toward the top of the hill with dismay during the tough finish at Harrison Lake State Park. Fayette runner Jacob Garrow focuses on the summit, also, during the Eagle Invitational cross country run Saturday morning. Continuing rain and drizzle made the course even more challenging. Results of the race are in this week’s Observer.
  • Front.bear
    HOLDEN HUTCHISON gives a hug to a black bear cub—the product of a taxidermist’s skills—at the Michigan DNR’s Great Youth Jamboree. The event on Sunday marked the fourth year of the Jamboree. Additional photos are on page 12.
  • Front.hose Testing
    HOSE safety—The FireCatt hose testing company from Troy put Morenci Fire Department hose to the test Monday morning when Mill Street was closed to traffic. The company also checks nozzles and ladders for wear in an effort to keep fire fighters safe while on calls.

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