Pam Webb

a writer's journey as a reader

Birthday Songs

Happy, Happy Birthday to Me!

June 14th. It’s Flag Day and it’s my birthday. It’s embarrassing to admit, but clear up to the age of twelve, I believed my mother that the neighborhood, in recognition of my birthday, hung their flags out. You would think I would have become a bit suspicious of her story’s validity since there were flags out all over the town. Maybe I simply believed that strongly in my mother’s influence.

Flag Day first, then my birthday

Birthdays have always been a big deal for me. Growing up with flags unfurled can do that, I suppose. However, as the candles marked the increase of years, my enthusiasm has decreased for acknowledging my yearly passage. Unless it’s a big deal year—as in significant. Fifty was a big deal year. Not because 50 is a big deal—rather it was because my first grandchild was born the next day. That’s right, the next day. We missed sharing the same birthday by that much. This year, 2020, is not a big deal year. Two years from now, yes. Not this year. In fact, with the pandemic on, and the family separated, and in isolation, I’m not expecting much. I will hang my flag out though.

As for birthday songs, that’s another reflection of note. I’ve never understood the traditional birthday song. It’s morose sounding and usually sung off key. Trevor Noah provides an enlightening dissertation on the birthday song. He grew up with a much better version.

Years ago, my mom and step-dad began calling up and leaving a rendition of the birthday song on the answering machine. I had never heard that version before, and even though two retired permanent-status snowbirds sang it pitch unaware, it became a highlight of my birthday. Sadly, my step-dad passed away last May. No more songs, and Mom is too sad to sing solo. Yet, I discovered the song in a movie—a Disney movie called The Emperor’s New Groove. I don’t think the folks watched that movie, maybe if Barbra Streisand had been one of the voices, she would have, so I am wondering where they got their birthday song. I will have to ask her. In the meantime I will go find my flag.

Do you have a Flag Day birthday? Then happy birthday. May you have a happy birthday song sung to you!

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17 thoughts on “Birthday Songs

  1. A very happy birthday to you, Pam! 🍰🥳🎈

  2. There’s something called Flag Day? I always thought we were flying them for you, too.

  3. Happybirthdaytoyou, Pam!

    • Thanks! Did you hang out your flag?🥳

      • Well, I live in an apartment so that is not really an option, but I recall my grandparents always did and my father still does, and i don’t believe they were even aware it was your birthday!

      • I will not remonstrate upon their lack of knowledge. You could perhaps attached a flag stamp to your doorpost in honor of the day. That would indeed suffice.

  4. Happy Birthday yesterday!!! Celebrate all week long!!

  5. Happy belated birthday! I have a recording of my parents singing happy birthday to my sister-in-law. She saved it on her cell phone years ago and then sent me a file copy. I play it sometimes just to hear their voices.

  6. I hope you had an awesome birthday, Pam! For many years, my mom got on the phone and my dad on the extension phone (remember those?), and they sang happy birthday to me “long distance.” Sure miss that and them…

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