Thursday, December 25, 2008

The Birthday Lady

7am. I’m sound asleep. The phone, inches from my ear, rings. I’m shocked into semi-consciousness. I lift the receiver to my ear.

“Zip-a-dee-doo-dah, zip-a-dee-ay. Oh, how we wish you a happy birthday.”

I remember. It’s the birthday lady.

Several years ago, I produced a story about Angie Adams of Logan, Utah. Back in the 30's her family moved to Tremonten to a farmhouse with a telephone. Their first. And she got the idea to use this exciting new technology to wish people well on their birthdays.

Six decades later she had compiled a long list of names, numbers and birth dates. That was the first order of business every day. At daybreak when phone rates were lower. She would place her birthday calls.

Her daughter, Irma Warburton said it was "her job."

"I don't know what I'd do without it, really I don't," Adams said. "It's just what I'm living for."

After the shoot, she, of course, asked me for my birth date and my telephone number. I couldn't deny the Birthday Lady.

For the next two or three years, she was the first well-wisher I'd hear early each birthday.

In 2000, Angie Adams died at the age of 89.

The next year I kinda missed the early birthday surprise.

I'm sure lots of other people did, too.

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