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    Happy Birthday, Herman!

    Yes, it is true, today is his birthday. And if any of you know him, make sure you give him big birthday wishes along with making certain to give him a hard time for turning 54. Well, now I’ve gone and done it. I’ve let the cat out of the bag, as it were, and told everyone his age. Actually, men don’t seem to really be bothered about revealing their age. And I’m not one to get all fussy if my age comes up in question. I’m so open about how old I am, that it really is no secret whatever. But I have met some women in my life that are so funny about their age, that when even the subject comes up, they sort of check out.

    Which I’ve actually never understood. Maybe it has something to do with my own particular genetics. Case in point is my Mom. She’s 75 years young (oops, there I go letting the cat out of the bag again) doesn’t look or act anywhere near that age, in fact, she plays tennis a couple of times a week and is an avid golfer in the summer.

    I can recall our family vacations always being activity oriented, such as skiing in the winter, walking tours in Europe, even our yearly Florida sojourns were not just about laying around on the beach, but rather walking the beach, collecting shells, trying to swim with dolphins, and major lap swimming in the Olympic-sized pool. In other words, the Spira Family has never been slackers, and I don’t think ever will be.

    In contrast, Herman grew up on a dairy farm. Which by no means indicates that he was anything like a slacker either. His chores began before the sun came up and included feeding and milking the herd of cows, raising horses, cleaning everyone’s pens (I can’t bear to go into detail here, in fact when he started telling me about it, I was forced to block my ears and start singing, "I don’t want to hear it!"). And then there was raising the crops to feed the cattle, fence mending, machinery fixing, barn and building repairs, in fact, he tells me they built their own hay wagons (whatever they are) and did their own welding of broken metal.

    They even had their own dairy plant, bottling their own milk and washing their own milk bottles before delivery. Yeah, they even had to deliver their milk to their customers. Which they did originally by horse and buggy (before Herman) then by truck, which actually had the family name on it. By then it was the year Herman was born, which was 1948.

    Which brings us back to January 20th. His birthday. Today. I remember him telling me about the time his father offered him the farm while he was in college. When Herman asked him, "Gee Dad, what do you think?" His father’s response was swift, "Farming is 365 days a year, no time off for holidays, sickness or vacations. And I think farming is going down the tubes. If you can do anything else, go do it."

    And he has. So, once again, happy birthday Herman. Wherever you are now in your life, at least your not shoveling… oh, yeah, I wasn’t going to go there.

    "Kathryn Spira, a native of Cleveland who pursued an acting career in NYC and Los Angeles, now pursues free lance writing from Caroga Lake here in Fulton County. Previous columns may be accessed at her web site www.kathrynskorner.com"