reflective remembrance

“Nature gives you the face you have at twenty;
it is up to you to merit the face you have at fifty.”

― Coco Chanel


(a slice of the Mile High Pie from Bones in Atlanta / Julie Cook / 2017)

As long as I can remember, my birthday has always fallen on the weekend of the
Georgia / Auburn football game.
Never mind if my birthday was on, say a Wednesday,
the birthday has always been marked by this hallowed grudge match.

A grudge match rivalry game considered, by those who write the history of
collegiate sports, to be the oldest college rivalry
in all of college football dating all the way back to 1892.

So this past weekend was no exception when it came to birthdays and football games…
despite the actual day being a few days after the fact of said game.

And so it would have only seemed to make sense that my beloved Dawgs would have
stepped up to the birthday plate by delivering the best gift possible—
a defeat of this most ancient of foes…putting them one more game closer
to a year of perfection….
Yet alas…
it was not to be….

Yet defeat is not the intent of today’s thoughts but rather the musing of what was,
what is and what will be…

When I turned 21, way back when I was in college at this same beloved college of
which I speak of today, I had been invited by a young man who I really liked at
the time, to travel down to Auburn for the game in honor of my birthday.

But I had a conundrum.

My godparents, the priest of my church and his wife, had already invited me to come
home as they wanted to have a small party in my honor.

Now I don’t know too many 21 year olds who would spend even a second weighing out such proposals…as whether to stay or go—as most any 21 year old in their right mind
would have wholeheartedly opted to go to the football game…
excitedly ready to spend a great weekend with great friends
and a potential great beau all the while living it up as one’s team beats
up another—

I however chose the latter.
I went home.

I really can’t say how many 21 year old kids had the Episcopal Bishop of Atlanta,
at the time, bake them a birthday cake, but me…

And yes it was indeed a small intimate gathering… yet one that was, obviously, most memorable.

The game would have been no doubt memorable as well…or maybe not…
because I couldn’t even begin to tell you who won that year…
and I can recall that that young man was only a beau for a short time…
but on the other hand I do remember those other particular individuals who loved me
enough to want to make a special day even more special in their own small way.

And so it is with this day of marking the passage of time,
that I find myself being a bit wistful.
Because isn’t that what we do as we age, we become wistfully reflective.

So in keeping with this notion of being both wistful and reflective,
I am poignantly reminded that this is the first birthday that is to be spent
in 58 years without my dad and aunt.

Mother has been gone since just before I was to turn 26, but Dad and Aunt Martha
have been around throughout of what seems to be the duration of time…

Each of them knew how to make a birthday celebration both special and memorable.
As I remain grateful in recalling the years gone past that they did make a special
day just that— special.
Just as I am sad thinking of a new year without them.

And whereas there will definitely be some sadness on an otherwise momentous day…
besides nursing what could have, should have, been with the Dawgs running the table
on a possible all out rout of a season of wins…
it will be a day marked with a sense of without…
of what was and of what is no more…

Yet as our dear friend Coco Channel so pointedly reminds us—
it is not necessarily a matter of what we may have once been or been given,
rather it will be a matter of who and what we will opt to one day be…

May we opt to be both wiser and kinder….


(my husband with his birthday girl / 2017)

When you pass through the waters,
I will be with you;
and when you pass through the rivers,
they will not sweep over you.
When you walk through the fire,
you will not be burned;
the flames will not set you ablaze.
For I am the Lord your God,
the Holy One of Israel, your Savior;
Since you are precious and honored in my sight,
and because I love you,

Isaiah 42:2,3,4

27 comments on “reflective remembrance

  1. @vapor_sage says:

    Happy Birthday and condolences to your beloved Dawgs, those rivalry games can provide the most unexpected results

  2. Marie Wright says:

    I so enjoyed reading this for it brought back memories and also a bit of sadness. Yes, I watched part of the game as my grand niece is at Auborn, but here in SC, it is the Clemson/Carolina game that is the big one and it comes it seems nearly every year near thanksgiving . Thinking of thanksgiving this year will be celebrated as always with my children and grand children at our farm. My birthday is always celebrated then also because it always comes near or on thanksgiving. This year will be different as we celebrate together minus one very, very special person who was and never will again always there….my husband and their dad and grandfather . He went to be with our Lord in June. We will remember, we will cry, and we will celebrate.

    • Thank you for your kind comments Marie–my cousins live on the GA /SC line and are huge Clemson fan’s—so I understand! 🙂
      I know this will be a hard thanksgiving for you but know that your husband will be present, just in a different capacity—my thoughts will be there with you and I wish you an early happy birthday —
      with a big hug—Julie

  3. Wally Fry says:

    Happy Birthday, Julie!

  4. Lynda says:

    Happy birthday and may the year ahead bring you much joy and peace! Thanks for sharing this beautiful photo of you and your love!!

  5. Reblogged this on Talmidimblogging and commented:
    Happy Birthday CS 🙂 Sweet pic of the Homecoming King & Queen!!

  6. Salvageable says:

    Happy Birthday! What a thoughtful and beautiful post! J.

  7. Such beautiful thoughts, Julie! Happy Birthday! Thanking God for the gift of you! ❤

  8. Sarah says:

    Many happy returns, Julie. Beautiful photo. 🙂

  9. Happy Birthday, Julie! Thanks for sharing your story…and that verse from Isaiah. Makes one ponder the greatness of God and the security he provides for us…

  10. oneta hayes says:

    Happy Birthday. Delightful picture. Lovely smiles.

  11. David says:

    Wishing you a very happy belated birthday, Julie. Sorry I didn’t get to read this yesterday. I had my 21st at sea!

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