It is late March as I pen these words and find myself thinking about the April showers that will bring May flowers. One can only hope those showers will be just that, reasonable in duration and force, enough to hydrate the soil so young plants wild and domestic can break the blanket of soil that shields them, so those who work the soil for profit or pleasure can do so in the time allotted them.
Hope springs eternal.
There are other reasons I look forward to April. In the fourth month of our year, many bird species are beginning their courtship rituals, complete with song and dance and some quarreling among the males. Daffodils shed the security of their winter beds and push toward lengthening rays of sunlight, ready to grace our world with bursts of yellow color dancing in a spring breeze.
I also look forward to April so I can begin spring cleaning our yard. The task is twofold: It gives the place a fresh look and helps all new growth stand out. That will begin once the soil dries out enough to provide sound footing for a man and his garden tools.
There are three dates on the April calendar that figure prominently in my life, none of which I had any choice in assigning to my monthly list of things to do. But that’s OK. One date I have to live with, and the others I want to live with. There is a difference.
April 15 is the date by which taxpayers are required to pay the governmental piper whether it be federal, state or local. This year that due date has been pushed back to July 15 because of the coronavirus pandemic.
The remaining two dates are on a personal level — as in birthdays. For many years, once we came into each other’s world, April 17, my wife Karen’s birthday, has been a day to remember. What’s that you say? The year? I’ll keep that close to my seldom-worn vest.
Some of those birthdays have been celebrated with friends and family and fine food and libation. Others were just the two of us, maybe dining in or out and sometimes a surprise or two was thrown in. More important, it’s nice to know we don’t always have to make a big deal of it, even if we sometimes forget the date.
I did not choose my birth date, but on that day in October of 2015 I was informed by our daughter, Chilali, and her husband, Chris, that I was going to be a grandfather. Well into the autumn of my life, that announcement was one of the best birthday gifts I have ever received. Karen and I were elated.
The following months were filled wth anticipation and excitement. When will we meet him? What gifts will we give the new family? Among other things, Karen and I discussed how we would be known. So many choices, but it was easy; the little tyke will call us Grandpa Phil and Grandma Karen.
The pregnancy went well, and on April 16, 2016, we received the news: Tallis Henry Hugo Scheer came into our lives. Before long the first images of Mom, Dad and Tallis were being sent to family and friends.
It is a long 1,700 miles between Lima and Logan, Utah, where they live. We had to wait until summer to meet the little guy when he took his first road trip to Ohio, but the wait was worth it. A grandson in my arms! Wow!
I had been playing my harmonica for him while he grew inside his mother, but now I would be able to play the lullaby song for him up close and personal.
Time flies when we become grandparents, and before long we were flying to Utah to help Tallis celebrate his first birthday. I don’t remember how I reacted to my first birthday, but I do remember, among other things, how Tallis started to cry as he was presented his cake and we adults began singing the Happy Birthday song. I don’t know about that newly minted 1-year-old, but we adults had a splendid time.
For our part, birthday No. 2 was celebrated on FaceTime in the box, as he has come to know it. In 2019, unbeknownst to Tallis, Karen and I, along with our daughter Dyani, his “Auntie Auntie” surprised him by flying to Utah, so we could celebrate in person. He awoke from his nap and found us sitting on the sofa in the living room. Was he surprised? I’m not sure he knew what to make of it.
I suspect that as Tallis grows older each birthday will take on a different meaning. There will be cake, presents, candles and sparklers and yes, that song, but without the tears. And the love of family and friends that go along with all the hoopla.
This year we will stay home and celebrate Tallis’ special day via the box. As the years pass, April showers or not, I will always know his birthday falls between tax day and Grandma Karen’s birthday. That should be easy enough for Grandpa Phil to remember.
Phil Hugo lives in Lima.