Red's birth was like something out of a Gothic novel; he arrived after not one but TWO treacherous journeys through an ice storm, he was born in a caul and he didn't cry, preferring to gaze calmly at the goings-on through his hypnotic newborn eyes. William Wordsworth wrote about birth:
Not in entire forgetfulness,
And not in utter nakedness,
But trailing clouds of glory do we come
and it was easy to see the stardust that clung to Red. Even the strictly pragmatic midwife who delivered him pronounced in eldritch tones, “He that is born in a caul will never die by drowning.”
His childhood also had elements of the supernatural. He was my smallest baby but quickly grew to be the tallest of the children (so far; I think Jack is going to give him a run for his money). He was a very sober little boy; he didn't laugh until he was four months old. (What got him then was me singing the old Steve Allen song “Schmock Schmock”). When he was a preschooler he would often answer questions that I had not asked out loud.
Though he's smart in general, Red's particular genius is music. He has perfect pitch, and he can play any musical instrument that's set before him – he once sat down in a music store's display window, doodled around for a minute and then played AC/DC's “Thunderstruck” - on a sitar.
Red is a walking contradiction. He is fiercely particular and completely disorganized. He's a flamboyant public performer who is excruciatingly shy. He's a college student, a barista, a rock guitarist and a composer. His imitation of “The Muppet Show's” Beaker would convulse a saint.
Today he turns 21.
Happy birthday, Red! Welcome to adulthood! When you were a toddler you used to throw your arms wide and announce, “I yuv you large!” Well, I love YOU large. You are everything a man should be, and your life is going to be magical.
I'm glad to be a part of it!