By Esther C. Baird/Tri-Town Transcript columnist
First Published in the Tri-Town Transcript March 26, 2014
The astute Regular Reader who managed not to scratch their skin off after my last column, will have picked up on the fact that, since we last met, I have turned 40.
My birthday fell last Tuesday, and we all know there’s no sparkle on a Tuesday. Birthdays that fall on Thursdays through Sundays can easily be made to feel festive. But if you land on a Monday through a Wednesday you are out of luck. In my case, all the luck o’ the Irish is used up the day before, since my birthday falls on March 18th.
I also have a ‘no snow’ policy on my birthday. By mid-March it’s not unreasonable to expect that the whole snow thing will be under control. And by this I mean zero snow. I don’t want to see snow. I don’t want to walk in snow. I don’t want Blue Ears to track the silty, sandy, snow remains through my house. By my birthday, I hope to have forgotten about snow as a form of precipitation altogether. You can imagine then, how I felt to have multi hip-high drifts around my house and a view that was still more white than green.
Lastly, on big birthdays I like to have life continuity, to have people around who knew me ‘when’, to have a history. But we’re transplants here on the North Shore. We’ve been here eleven years and, since it’s New England, that means I’ve got at least ten or fifteen more years to go before I’ll be a local. So there I was: a Tuesday birthday, in a snowscape, turning 40, in a region with no roots.
On my birthday morning I woke up and, as is my habit, checked my email and Facebook only to find that I had been hacked. I panicked for a few minutes before I realized that I could still access my account. Still it was weird, and I started my birthday feeling unsettled. Until, a few minutes later, an email arrived from my husband. He had hacked my Facebook and, with the help of a tech-savvy friend, he had a surprise for me.
Suddenly, I was watching a movie of my life. It was full of birthday messages and videos from friends and family. There were pictures from my 5th grade teacher, messages from old college friends, snapshots from when I was a toddler, and a video from my boss back when I wore those things called suits and worked in an office. I saw cousins and aunts and former roommates. I saw Beverly Hospital mommy friends and seminary classmates. A life time of friends scattered across the globe, (one message came from China!) a life time of roots, old and new, came to me right here in Boxford.
The snow-on-Tuesday problem seemed to slip away into what was clearly going to be a fabulous day. And it was. I continued to hear from friends far and wide, and met some of them for lunch at Pinkberry. Frozen yoghurt is a perfectly healthy lunch option if you just add the Nutella topping for the protein. After our ‘lunch’ they presented me with a cake that had. . . 40 candles on it.
It might have been cold outside, but let me assure you that 40 lit candles can heat up just about anything. It was a pyrotechnic pinkberry extravaganza! When I managed to blow them out, we were all relieved that the building was still standing and our hair was unsinged.
And so it went all day. I heard from old friends and new friends and ate cake on multiple occasions. Turning 40, on a Tuesday, with snow on the ground, here on the North Shore, turned out to be a surprisingly rooted thing. And who knows, maybe by the time I turn 50 I’ll even be a local who loves snow in March.
(Except not really about the snow part.)