A COVID-19 Birthday

by John Delach

Last February 22, 2020, I turned 76 years old. Ten out of our family of 11, my wife and I, our son and daughter, their spouses and four of our five grandchildren gathered at the Bryant Park Grill to celebrate our family’s five birthdays that take place in January and February. We picked the Bryant Park Grill in Manhattan as it is one of our favorites. Only Number one Grandson, Drew, away at college at Miami of Ohio couldn’t be there, but, in a way, he was thanks to FaceTime.  

Little did we know that this festive event would be the swan song for everything that  everybody considered normal. Life as we knew it ended less than a month later.

Today the calendar reached February 22, 2021 making me 77 years old. Last Friday, my wife received her second dose of the Pfizer vaccine. I’m scheduled to receive my second dose this Sunday, the last day in February 2021.

President Joseph Biden used the occasion of my birthday to proclaim that February 22, 2021 witnessed the 500,000 death of an American to the COVID-19 virus.

When I was growing up, February 22 was a national holiday celebrating the birth of George Washington. Each year, I considered it my birth right to be off from school. It made me feel special.

Later, the holiday morphed into the generic “Presidents’ Day” celebrated on the third Monday in February. Fortunately for me, this infamnia against the father of our nation didn’t strike until after I came of age.

I still had my unique birthday, 2/22/44 and next year I am looking forward to my 78th falling on 2/22/22!

But I never signed on, nor would I ever want to be part of a new day of infamy where we remember that 500,000 Americans died from this virus.

A sense of melancholy lurked somewhere in my psyche as my birthday approached. Still, it wasn’t until late in the day that the reality of the COVID-19 death toll hit me. My way to relate to sadness like this is to call upon a song. For this downer, I call on Paul Simon and “Have A Good Time:”

Yesterday, it was my birthday

I hung one more year on the line

I should be depressed

My life is a mess

But I’m having a good time

Have a good time

Have a good time

Have a good time

Have a good time

Maybe I’m laughing my way to disaster

Maybe my race has been run

Maybe I’m blind

To the fate of mankind

But what can be done?

So, God bless the goods we were given

God bless the U.S. of A.

God bless our standard of livin’

Let’s keep it that way

And we’ll have a good time

Have a good time

Have a good time

Have a good time

Have a good time