25 years ago today my funny valentine, our perpetual valentine, was born. It was February 14, 1984, when our youngest son, Daniel, came into this world at about 8:00PM in the Providence Hospital, Anchorage, Alaska. It is hard to believe that 25 years have passed since that cold, freezing cold (about 6 degrees), winter night. Dennis arrived home from the office around five and found me resting in the bedroom. He inquired if I felt OK to which I responded: “Well, I am OK, just uncomfortable.” By 6:00PM we were driving on icy roads hurrying to get to the hospital. Dan arrived so quickly that it was really Dennis and the charge nurse, Char Peters, who delivered Daniel. No anesthetic and that is why I said Dan arrived about 8:00PM, the truth is everyone in the delivery room was so busy that we forgot to look at the clock!
That evening Dennis and I knew that Valentine’s Day would always be special to us. We would really never need to buy another card or Valentine’s gift as we had our perpetual Valentine. To remember this night, Dennis wrote a song for Daniel. You can enjoy “Daniel’s Valentine” here.
This sweet little boy, is now a man that loves books, music, history, whitewater rafting, rock climbing, harmonica playing, photography, Pete Seeger, Woody Guthrie, Twain, Emerson, Thoreau, philosophy, dogs, and good food. He was named for my uncle Daniel and my father’s mother’s maiden name Ryan. Daniel is a Hebrew name meaning “God is my judge” and Ryan, of Gaelic origin, means “king” or “little prince”. I need not say more.
The video I am sharing with you today is Pete Seeger singing Woody Guthrie’s “This Land Is Your Land” at a celebration for Pete Seeger’s 90th Birthday on May 3, 2009.
So today, as I wish Daniel a happy 25th birthday, I want to wish all of you a Happy Valentine’s Day. If you attempt to learn about the history of this day, you will find that everyone seems to have their own version of how and why we have come to celebrate Valentine’s Day. I will let you do this research on your own. What I have come to realize in the past week is that I have many friends and relatives that have a February birthday. It is an extraordinary number. Let me see: our son Daniel(14th), Dennis’ sister Vivian(19th) and brother Harvey(19th), Dennis’ cousin Bob Stuckelman(19th), Dennis’ cousin Joe Stuckelman(16th), Dennis’ nephew Joshua Yates(14th), Dennis’ nephew Jared Rubin(27th), our friend Arnold Glassman(16th), our friend Father Rick Degagne(11th), our friend Sheryl Thompson(14th), our friend Bart von Gal(21st), my cousin Harry Egan(14th), my sister Agnes Laband(13th), my nephew Steve Laband(5th) and the list goes on. Just this week as we celebrated Father Rick’s birthday we both commented about all the February birthdays, so Father Rick counted back and we concluded that it must be the lusty month of May that produces all of these wonderful February babies. Come to think about it, May is the month we celebrate Mother’s Day…so now we may conclude what really goes on in many homes on Mother’s Day.
Happy Birthday Dan!