The family that shares everything

by Debbie Carini

The thing about having a birth date that coincides with, or falls near a holiday is that the 2 are often combined into one celebration. My dad frequently experiences this phenomenon with a December 26 birthday, and he prefers to have his birthday gifts wrapped in anything but red or green paper.

My birthday falls in the middle of June, frequently coinciding with Father’s Day, and my cake typically reads, “Happy Birthday Debbie and Happy Father’s Day Dad and Grandpa.”

Let me just say, right up front, that I’m not in the least bit complaining about any sort of injustice; quite the opposite in fact—I find it amazing at my advanced age that a group of people will still gather to sing and celebrate in a way that is reminiscent of my childhood parties in the park. And the best part is there are still presents!

This year, as we were celebrating Father’s Day/Mom’ Birthday, my children presented my husband and me with a classic “combo gift,” which also managed to incorporate another phenomenon—the gift that also benefits the giver (or in this case, the givers). We were all going to a concert!

I looked at the printed receipt to see if I recognized any names, like Tom Jones or Bette Midler, but they weren’t on it. Instead, I was going to The Greek Theater in Los Angeles to see Barenaked Ladies, Guster and Ben Folds Five. Huh? And would the first group be clothed?

At least, I thought, I can redeem myself with this trip to The Greek, the site of one of the most memorable concerts I don’t remember seeing—Blondie—thanks to an ill-advised encounter with a large, jug-shaped bottle of something sweet and alcoholic. (Kids, don’t try this at home, or anywhere else for that matter, seriously).

On August 15, 1979, at perhaps the height of her popularity, Blondie was playing The Greek. Hurriedly, in the parking lot, some of my friends (not the ones who were driving) and I swilled some awful double letter libation (Ripple comes to mind) and headed into the concert. A British band name Rockpile (huh?) opened the show and then, Blondie was on stage. I remember “roll me in designer sheets…”—some lyrics from her hit, “Call Me”—and that’s about it for the evening. I think my friends carried me back to the parking lot because I also have a vague recollection of treetops and a starry sky passing by.

 Fast forward (that’s what it feels like to me) 34 years and I’m at The Greek again. The Barenaked Ladies group did not perform in the nude, and hey, I actually knew one of their compositions, the theme song to the television show, The Big Bang Theory! In fact, I even heard one young fan behind me disparage the group with the comment, “they look like a bunch of dads!”

As I glanced around, I noticed that there were also a bunch of “dads” in the audience. 

“Did you get us tickets in the senior citizen section?” I gibed my daughter. But I was happy that our children didn’t seem to be embarrassed to be with us.

The “combo gift,” much like the “combo meal” at a fast food restaurant has something, and sometimes too much, for everyone. But I always enjoy it!



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