Posted by: James Atticus Bowden | November 19, 2014


November 18th, 1950

November 18th, 1950

Usually, I know what I am to write.  Not what I want to write, but what I am supposed to write.  The themes develop over a few days or come full force, with all the words, in a sudden burst.  Not this birthday blog, except for this memory.

On November 18th, 1972 my girl friend, Nellie Katherine Kyle, made me a chocolate cake.  She put little toy soldiers – the green guys from Toy Story movies – on top.  I was in jump school at Ft. Benning, GA.  My classmate, companymate, roomate, Gary Micheau said in his inimitable sarcastic voice, “Hey, Bubba, you’re going to marry this girl.”  I said, “No way.”  We’re just dating.  All the time.  Every free moment.  Constantly.

This birthday was the first in my adult life that Nellie wasn’t sharing life – and my birthday – with me.  Even the ones I missed not being home.

So, that’s what my birthday is all about.  Not me.  Her.  My late wife.  Nellie.  Wife over 38 years.  Passionate desire for my whole adult life.  Her absence is my 64th birthday.

My grown kids, other family, friends were sensitive and sweet about today.

My connections – almost all are on-line at Facebook or other networking, were kind.  I know several hundred of the kin, classmates, old Army buddies, church family, friends from work and all venues, and Virginia political comrades.  The remainder of the 5k are un-indicted co-conspirators in Christ, the Constitution, Conservativism, Confederate heritage, or Western Civilization.  I’ll respond to every kind birthday wish – it’ll take time.

Thank you.  One and all.

A year ago I put together a collage of icons that told my story.  They don’t say who I am, but what I’m from and a bit of what I’ve done.  One life.

Bottom half is family.  Top half, left to right, is my path.

Bottom half is family. Top half, left to right, is my path.

This year, I don’t have the energy for any such thing.  Just marshalling the energy to endure these two months to New Year’s 2015.  Coming up is Thanksgiving, my youngest daughter’s first birthday without Mom (and it’s her big 30th), first anniversary of Nellie’s stroke, death, and memorial service, and finally CHRISTmas – her glorious holiday.

The first year without Nellie will be over.  There is the rub indeed.  The end of the first year means there will be more without her.

So, 64 is close to a crack in time for one man.  The new normal is about to begin.  Nellie told me all about this second year – she was an expert on death and grieving as a counselor.

I’m deeply grateful for every kindness today.  I’m deeply devout, not priggish pious, in my broken, humble thanks, worship and love for the Lord God – Father, Son and Holy Ghost for this birthday – and every day to do His Will to the best of my ability.   And, I miss her.

A crack in my time on earth

A crack in my time on earth

This is the first birthday since 1972, that she didn’t ask me what I wanted for my birthday.  Which, of course, was all that mattered.  (Of course I coveted and cherished cards from family.  However, their cards and her question were quite different to my heart.)

I’m up for as many healthy birthdays the Good Lord wants me to live.  Psalm 30.  Thy Will be done.

The Lord giveth and the Lord taketh away.  Praise be the name of the Lord.



  1. Your season is a tough one. I hope that you had a blessed birthday yesterday.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s


%d bloggers like this: