It was my birthday last week, and as I drove through the great state of Texas I thought about birthdays the past several years. Like when I got invited to stay with a great Mexican family in Indianapolis on my birthday, very last minute and improptu. And my birthday where my cousin showed up in his private jet to surprise me.
This year I was headed to Tom and Jenny's ranch in Texas. It was always a good time with them, and I knew they would be excited to see me.
As I drove up the driveway, I could see that there were many more dogs there than the last time I came. I parked and got out of the car, and a frisbee bounced off the back of my head. I spun around to see Jenny laughing. "Guess it got away from me," she giggled.
"Yeah, sure it did." I smiled and went to hug her. She squeezed me tight, Jenny was always good for hugs.
"Happy Birthday, Bill-dog. I'm so glad you're here."
"Me too. Thanks for having me."
"Well thanks for being had." We both laughed.
I walked to the trunk of my car and popped it open. "I have gifts for you all."
"What? No, this is your birthday."
"Yep, it is. But don't forget my tradition of picking the people I'm truly closest to and bringing them gifts."
"You have some nutty policies, my friend."
Just then, Tom walked out the door. "Who's got nuts?"
"Hey Tom, how are you buddy?"
"I'm OK, the question is how are you?"
"Celebrating my birthday by getting gifts for my closest friends." I handed Tom a case of Bud Light. "I sure do hope I got the size that fits you."
He smiled and nodded. "Perfect size, and its my favorite color too-- Bud Light Blue."
I looked around the yard. "Looks like you have even more dogs now."
"One hundred to be exact," Tom exclaimed.
"Quit exxagerating," scolded Jenny. "We have 99 dogs, no more and no less.
We all went into the house where their three foster daughters were playing. I handed each one of them a gift bag which had toys and dolls and such inside. The girls were tickled pink. Then I handed Jenny a check for $30. "This is for your Dog adoption fund. Its not much, but its--" I was quickly interrupted by Jenny giving me a kiss on the lips. There was no romance, just deep gratitude in those lips.
I excused myself and walked back outside to the trunk of my car. I reached inside and grabbed the first of three big bags full of dog food. And a couple of boxes of dog treats. I took it all inside and said, "Well, I don't know how far this will stretch, but maybe it will help."
"Bill-dog, every single thing helps. And much more than you know. I thank you so much, but I still don't understand why you're doing stuff for us on your birthday."
"Because I love you guys. Because you mean a whole, whole lot to me. And because I still believe in the Golden rule, even if most people don't. Do unto others as you would have them do unto you. And its better to give than to receive. Know what I mean?"
Jenny smiled and nodded her head. It turned out to be a really wonderful birthday for me.