Sunday was Dee's birthday.

Unless you’re a longtime reader of this column or have lived a while in Buffalo, that probably doesn’t mean much to you. But, it means a lot to me.

Dee — born DeAnn Joy Galbavy in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, on April 28, 1952 — was my bride of seven years when we came to the Buffalo Reflex in 1978.

As ad manager at the newspaper she earned the respect of both the local community and her peers in the Missouri Advertising Managers Association, who honored her with their annual Dee Hamilton Old Pro Award following her untimely passing in September 1994.

More importantly, she was the mother of my two daughters

How could I not remember her birthday?

I never forgot it. Never will.

But, I don’t remember some birthdays as well as I should. Some I find particularly hard to remember. My mother, for example, never made much fuss about hers — sometime in late July or early August. I still have to go look it up, just as I do that of my younger brother, David, born in February. I’m invariably a day or two off.

Others, though, are eternally imprinted in memory. My closest brother, Russell, was born June 24, and I’ve always know it. Since his passing in 2014, it’s even more firmly etched in my consciousness. It’s much the same with my youngest brother, Stephen, born Dec. 19 and his life cut short at age 21.

Of course, I cannot forget Dec. 31, 1971, the birthdate of my eldest daughter, Angela, killed 19 years later in a car crash. I recall not only the dates, but virtually every detail of the days of both her birth in a U.S. Air Force hospital and her passing.

I could not possibly forget my daughter Melissa’s birthday, either, an Oct. 25 American Bicentennial baby, or that of my eldest grandson, Colson, on Dec. 26. But, I reckon it’s nothing special to remember children’s birthdays. Don’t all parents?

Likewise, I don’t dare forget my Missouri bride’s Oct. 17 birthday, but I couldn’t tell you the birthdays of any of her three children, even after 23 years of calling them my own. I count on Martha to prompt me.

Similarly, I remember only two birthdays in the group of writers I shared pizza with at Nixa every Friday for more than a decade. Paul’s is Dec. 29, the day before mine, and Suzann’s was April 15 — tax day. The other folks were no less important, their birthdays just less memorable.

So, what’s the point of this?

I guess I was just thinking about Dee. She was an important part of my life for more than 23 years and remains a part of me today. It’s the same with all loved ones and friends we’ve lost. Birthdays help us remember them.

It may be more important, though, to remember the birthdays of family and friends still with us. Everyone likes to be remembered, even if they say they don’t. I wish I were better at it, and not just within a day or two.

But, maybe that’s OK, too.

We all like to be remembered, birthday or not.

Copyright 2019, James E. Hamilton

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