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Tuesday, July 4, 2017

The "Happy, Happy Birthday Baby" Story

It was an ordinary day.  No wait!  That was yesterday, but today is anything but ordinary since today we celebrate the birthday of ... BAW or maybe better known now as BAM.  I suppose you have no idea where this is leading, but that's OK, since our daughter's birthday is usually only celebrated in her household.  Brynn Ann Woods, now known as Brynn Ann Mencarini, was born on 7/4/1974.  A real firecracker to say the least.  Anyone who has a birthday on a special holiday usually gets a bit more of a celebration than those born on any regular old day of the year, like me.  Not only do we celebrate our daughter's birthday on July 4th, but we celebrate the birth of the United States of America as an independent nation.  She was, and still is, referred to as our firecracker.  Can still remember wearing those red, white and blue checked trousers to the hospital on July 4th to celebrate the birth of our only daughter.  And, today we will once again gather to celebrate her birthday with a birthday cake covered with candles as well as the traditional singing of "Happy Birthday to You".  
My two granddaughters helping their mom celebrate.
Did you know that the song "Happy Birthday to You" is the most recognized song in the English language according to the Guiness Book of World Records.  The melody for the tune comes from the song "Good Morning to All" by the American sisters Patty and Mildred J. Hill which was written in 1893.  Patty was a kindergarten principal in Louisville Kentucky who developed various teaching methods while her sister Mildred was a musical composer and pianist.  The sisters knew that the music from "Good Morning to All" was easy for young children to sing.  They then combined that melody to the lyrics of "Happy Birthday to You" and published it in 1912.  And, ever since that time it has been sung at birthday parties all over the world.  Since the U.S. Federal Court ruled the song to be in the public domain, it can be used by anyone without having to worry about copyright infringements or royalties.  
Celebrating her birthday while vacationing at the Jersey Shore.
And, Brynn's favorite birthday cake, made by her mother, the lemon poppy seed cake, has been a tradition in our family since she was first born.  The tradition of the birthday cake has been around since the Ancient Romans when they celebrated births with pastries.  The tradition of birthday candles began in Ancient Greece when people brought cakes adorned with lit candles to the temple of Artemis, goddess of the hunt.  The candles were lit to make them glow like the moon, a popular symbol associated with Artemis.  And when Brynn blows out the candles, ancient culture dictates that the smoke from the candles will carry her prayers to the heavens.  So, when you celebrate the 4th of July today, remember not only the birth of our nation, but those who also celebrate their birth date.  I know we will!  It was another extraordinary day in the life of an ordinary guy.


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