AMY KIRK: Celebrating Sunscreen Day
Every kid likes to think their birthday is exceptionally special because of other events or famous people who share their birthday. I always thought mine was the best day to have a birthday because it represented the end of school and the beginning of summer -- an exciting time for any kid.
My mother said the day I was born was the last day of school in Hot Springs, and she remembers watching kids leaving the buildings from her hospital room window across the street. I visualized teens in bell bottom pants and polyester shirts getting into their muscle cars or brown Gremlin cars like my aunt Lucy and Lavonne had, mothers in station wagons picking up their kids, and the weather being pure sunshine and hot already.
During my elementary years, I rarely got to bring treats to school because school was out or I was outdone by Custer Elementary and everyone got to celebrate with ice cream bars after the field day, but I prided myself in having a birthday that never landed on a boring school day during winter. I loved that my birthday was in late spring. Sunshine always seemed present on my special day and I considered it summer.
My birthday party ideas were just as unusual. When I turned 7 I wanted a cherry pie instead of a birthday cake for my party. My mother said I was the only one of all the first grade party-goers who ate it. As a teenager, some years I got to brag that my birthday was a national holiday (if it landed on Memorial Day). That was cool until I finally turned 21 -- old enough to go to a bar and buy alcohol. It fell on Memorial Day and no cool places were open to go celebrate with a special birthday dinner and beverage. I had to settle for a beer joint in Custer, where there wasn't anybody fun in the bar to partake in my legal age celebration, and all I had to eat with my beer was free popcorn.
I still claim my birthday as distinctive because of what else is celebrated on my special day, and for whom I share it with. One of my beloved country singers Don Williams and I share the same birthday (as did the unfortunate Wild Bill Hickock). Not many people can say their birthday is the anniversary of the breakout of the Bubonic Plague in 1907 and Achsah Young's death -- the first American executed for Witchcraft on May 27, 1647.
I get to brag that my birthday is Tape Day -- a perfect day for completing all your paper related repairs and book mending, (Richard Drew invented cellophane tape May 27, 1930) and it's Sunscreen Day. May 27 is a big day in history for beer, too. Big Buck Brewery (Michigan; 1995), Black Swamp Microbrewery (Ohio; 1996), Monticello Brewing (Virginia; 1996) and Rockyard Brewing (Colorado; 1999) all opened on May 27. Probably most interesting though, is that my birthday is also "Discordian Season of Confusion," very coincidental, considering my personality and how my mind works.
Some of my birthdays were so insignificant I didn't even journal about them, while others were a stretch. One year I'd written that I woke up and forgot for several hours that it was my birthday. On my 30th, I wrote that our daughter got two teeth, and my 41st I had a doctor's appointment. Others were celebrated more uniquely. I got up at 3 a.m. on my 37th and flew to California with girlfriends who'd arranged a birthday announcement on one of our flights.
This year, after eight long months of winter, of high importance was getting to celebrate outdoors -- and wearing sunscreen.