Ken Beaton: They say it’s your birthday

Lynn Public Schools Marching Band French Horn player, Ken Beaton, before the 1953 Memorial Day parade. Where were you in 1953 when cars had fins?

Lynn Public Schools Marching Band French Horn player, Ken Beaton, before the 1953 Memorial Day parade. Where were you in 1953 when cars had fins?

What has been your experience since March 16, 2020, 381 days ago? Please use only new cuss words. I’m always looking to be cool and expand my cuss word vocabulary.
Since March 16, I would describe my life as a “Court Ordered Home prison sentence without an ankle monitor.” To quote some of my former students, “2020 was the year that SUCKED!” For my birthday last year, I couldn’t have a well-prepared restaurant meal with my relatives and friends. I told everyone I was NOT a year older because the only thing that happened was people were dropping like flies. Do you agree?
Over the years, I’ve marked my birthday when the number of years after my birth ended in a zero. When I turned 50, our house was full of people enjoying good food, beer or wine while having interesting conversations. On the evening of my 60th birthday, The Kiwanis Club of Carson City held their annual Luau at the Carson City Nugget. My wife, Lin, surprised me with my siblings, their spouses, with my son and my favorite daughter-in-law, my only daughter-in-law.
On my 75th birthday, I rented a hall, hired a caterer, a harpist, two bartenders and a cake decorator and launched my first book, a memoir about two teenage boys in high school and college behaving badly! “Just because it’s a bad idea doesn’t mean it’s not going to be fun.”
If 2020 was a normal year, I would’ve flown at least twice to the East Coast to visit with my cousins and members of the Lynn English High School Class of 1958, Go Bulldogs. We enjoy dinner, share jokes, stories and get updated with what’s happening with our classmates.
A favorite story is two of my underage male classmates obtained a couple of six-packs of beer. They completely lost track of the time, three hours past their curfew. “We need a good story.” What did these two impaired teen males do? They drove to the police station in their community, reported that they had been kidnaped and had escaped their kidnappers!
Each time the detective asked them questions, their story changed. This wasn’t the detective’s first barbecue. He explained the penalty for filing a false police report.  Immediately, the two admitted they had lied about being kidnaped. The detective called their parents to come to the station and take them home. The two males would have been in less trouble if they had returned home and been truthful with their parents and “manned up” to take their punishment. My advice is never lie to get out of a situation. Lying makes the situation worse, not better.
Today is my 80th birthday. I would like to mark the moment but the pandemic is still with us. COVID-19 has claimed more than 500,000 American lives. I can’t have a gathering with friends and relatives. Last year and again this year, I couldn’t be with the people who mean the most to me.
So, I’ll pour a glass of single malt Scottish whiskey that has been aged six years in an oak cask and six years in a cask that has aged sherry, “a sherry finish.” Paul McCartney has promised to sing “You say it’s your birthday,” to me on YouTube. Currently, I’m in “hardnose negotiations” with my wife being the “cake girl.”
I look at it this way. Each year I’m on this side of the dirt, it’s a good year. Let’s see how close I come to century mark, 2041.


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