Annie’s Mailbox for March 26, 2011: Searching for essay about elderly man’s birthday
March 26, 2011
Dear Annie: I’m looking for an essay that appeared in an old Ann Landers column. It was about an elderly man who was celebrating a birthday. He spent the whole day waiting, but no one came. I visited my mother today in a home. She brought up this same column in our conversation, and I promised to try to track it down. Can you help?
— Loving Daughter
Dear Daughter: Happy to. Here it is:
It Was Grandfather’s Birthday
by Rudy Joe Mano (reprinted with permission)
It was Grandfather’s birthday. He was 79. He got up early, shaved, showered, combed his hair and put on his Sunday best so he would look nice when they came.
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He skipped his daily walk to the town cafe where he had coffee with his cronies. He wanted to be home when they came.
He put his porch chair on the sidewalk so he could get a better view of the street when they drove up to help celebrate his birthday.
At noon, he got tired but decided to forgo his nap so he could be there when they came.
Most of the rest of the afternoon he spent near the telephone so he could answer it when they called.
He has five married children, 13 grandchildren and three great-grandchildren. One son and a daughter live within 10 miles of his place. They hadn’t visited him for a long time.
But today was his birthday and they were sure to come.
At suppertime, he left the cake untouched so they could cut it and have dessert with him. After supper, he sat on the porch waiting.
At 8:30, he went to his room to prepare for bed. Before retiring, he left a note on the door that read:
“Be sure to wake me when you come.”
It was Grandfather’s Birthday. He was 79.
Dear Annie: I was married for almost 20 years to a great family guy. But when we had conflicts, they were always my fault, and I had to apologize or “stop being so sensitive.” Eventually, I cheated on him. I know I was wrong. He divorced me and quickly remarried someone who is barely older than our daughter.
Our older child left with him and has had nothing to do with me since. I miss a relationship with my daughter. I have tried to initiate contact, but there is no reply. Our son stayed with me and seems to have adjusted. He still sees his father, and I encourage that relationship. He also speaks to his adult sister often.
Do I let my daughter go or just wait? It’s been two years. My ex says he will not get in the middle to help me. I know nothing of her life.
— Sad in the South
Dear Sad: Please do not give up on your daughter. Two years may seem like an eternity, but there is a good possibility she will want a relationship in the future. She first needs to grow up a little and be able to forgive you. Keep writing, e-mailing, whatever. Don’t be intrusive or demanding, but be sure to say you love her and are thinking of her always. We hope you don’t have to wait too long.
Dear Annie: I read the letter from “Loving Auntie,” whose 10-year-old nephew has begun correcting the grammar of the adults around him.
When I was 8 years old, we lived with my grandparents. Grandma often corrected Grandpa’s grammar and pronunciation in front of other people. I felt so embarrassed for him, although he quietly accepted the corrections from his beloved wife. His family moved here from Denmark, and he had to drop out of school in third grade to help support his family after his father died. He went on to become a very successful businessman and pillar of the small community in which we lived.
I’d just like to remind people that it is also bad manners for a spouse to correct her partner in front of others.
— Loving Granddaughter