Posted by: donrhymer | February 23, 2013

Birthday Girl

photo-34

I have spent the last two weeks attempting to write this post.  Mostly staring at the screen, occasionally typing and then hitting the delete button repeatedly. How do I express my feelings about this giant cloud that is now surrounding what has always been my favorite day of the entire year? February 23rd.

I tried to channel my father’s wit and humor as a means to express how I feel, but I realized that I am just not there yet.  So instead, I am just going to go with another thing my dad excelled at – honesty.

Honestly? I have been dreading this day since November 28th.  It’s too soon.  Our family just trudged through the heartache that came with Christmas, New Year’s and Valentine’s Day, but nope, that’s not all.  Now I have to find a way to celebrate my birthday and my dad’s birthday, without him.  I don’t even know where to start.

I’m the baby of the family, and lucky for me, I came into this family on my dad’s 30th birthday.  Obviously, his best birthday present ever (although, there were definitely times he denied this and would point to some other childhood gift he loved). My dad was the kind of man that everyone wanted to be close to. He had this magnetic personality that made you just instantly want to be his best friend.  How could you not? NOTHING compared to the feeling when he laughed at your jokes (or did the typical Don Rhymer thing and just said “That was funny”).  And I got to be his little girl. I got to share his birthday with him for 21 years.  No day was more precious than February 23rd.  It was the day of Don and Carrie.  I always felt so proud and so special on our birthday, like it was some secret gift we shared that no one could ever take from us; a bond unique in its own.

Last year my parents flew to Boston for my 21st birthday and my dad’s 51st birthday.  They stayed at this snazzy hotel, where the bar was a nightclub.  We had our first legal drink together and joked and laughed at the people around us dancing.  I want that again.

I know that it’s still a bond that only he and I share, but I want more birthdays.  I feel gypped out of years of birthdays and memories and it’s not fair. It’s just not.

I am going to celebrate my dad’s birthday with my friends in Boston this year.  I told them all that I want to have a big toast to him, and have instructed them that if there is a cake being made – it must have my dad’s name on it as well.  I don’t know what the day will be like, probably lots of ups and downs like everything else these days.  Luckily I will be surrounded by my dear friends.

I know you’ll be with me too, Dad.  Happy Birthday, I love you sososososo much.

– Carrie

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Responses

  1. Well said. I trust he’s with you in that spirit of laughter, with that sparkle of mischief in his eye — “Happy” (as it can be) amidst wildly unfair loss, Birthday to Carrie and Don!!

  2. Happy Birthday, Carrie!!

    “It was the day of Don and Carrie. I always felt so proud and so special on our birthday, like it was some secret gift we shared that no one could ever take from us; a bond unique in its own.” Understandibly not the same, but It still is…. Love you.

    • Understandably. We cannot have spelling errors on your Dad’s blog now can we…

  3. Carrie, I have such fun, happy memories of the very first birthday you and your Dad shared. And how proud he was when your Mom brought you in for your starring role on Evening Shade 3 weeks later. I will most definitely drink a birthday toast to you both this evening! I’ve been thinking as I’ve been reading your family’s posts that it’s so appropriate the blog’s called “Let’s Radiate Don” because that’s what you’re all doing — radiating all the love and humor and compassion that was typical of your Dad. I know he’s so proud of you all. Much love to you and your family….

  4. Un 4 2 nately – I strated toasting Don a bit too ealry…hoo boy. Luckily, it was NOT MD2020 which Don told me to stay away from – never got the full story. Anyhoo – Happy Bday. And another cheers to your dad!

  5. Carrie, Many happy returns of the day to you and many happy memories of the days celebrated with your dad.
    Scott

  6. Carrie, I first met your Dad in the summer of ’93. We were hired as Political Media Buyers for, Black, Manafort and Stone in Old Town Alexandria. We worked together for a few years, until your Dad left for the West coast. Besides what follows, your Mom can fill you in on some more details.

    In reading your post there were 2 things that convinced me it was finally time to write some memories of your Dad, what he meant to me. ‘Just be honest,’ struck me because I wasn’t sure how to convey my emotions and ‘that was funny,’ because I wasn’t sure what to say.

    These are random thoughts.

    There was one night in Old Town myself and coworkers got your Dad to ‘come out with us.’ It didn’t happen often, but we were successful this night. Another thing that didn’t happen often was Dad having a few drinks on those rare times he did ‘came out with us.’ A few drinks for your Dad left him feeling pretty giddy.

    Kate, I know you’re reading this. Maybe you should move on to Chapter 2, ‘Please Don’t Laugh at My Pinto.’

    Carrie, You’re Dad gets up on the dance floor after some gentle prodding by me, (at the top of my lungs), I join him and we start dancing to a video playing on a screen above the dance floor. I don’t remember the name of the song, (how convient for us) but it was a male group who danced in step quite well. Your Dad and I dove right in and began to dance, sure we were dancing in step. I think we actually were, for 30 seconds maybe! Then it quickly became one of the ugliest things I’ve ever seen!!! How could we not know. The walls were mirrored!! If it was an SNL skit it would have been censored for causing temporary blindness. But the next day, after some denying by your Dad and reminding by me, he laughed harder than I’d had ever seen him. It was the coolest thing! We never spoke of the ‘event’ again.

    It only took one day of work for Dad and I to realize we would do lots of laughing together. We had the tiniest of offices and couldn’t help but be on top of each other. It was either laugh, usually at each other and our work situation, or get jobs as professional dancers. I think we chose correctly. We were the office comedians, the ‘boys’. Dad just loved making people laugh, which had been my job, but I can’t tell you how many times your Dad got me laughing out of control!! So, from our first day we became friends. Comedians.

    If you don’t remember or don’t know what a Pinto is Google it. Its not the horse. Its the car. I had an abundance of respect for your Dad because he drove one of the ugliest cars ever made. I would often remind him of the Pinto’s standing in auto history, with a chuckle. He would take it with an ‘ok, ok’ or maybe an, ‘alright’, or something similar, then in his way would end up making me laugh.

    I think of your Dad often. Certainly when I remember that gut wrenching dance ‘thing,’ and so many of the laughs we had. The hard work he put in, the really hard work he put in, to live his dream and create and make people laugh. It has inspired me to work hard on my creative pursuits as an aspiring writer, singer, song writer. I now use the advise he offered me way back when that I never put into practice. I am surprised how much comes back to me and how helpful it is. I think because Dad was so heartfelt in giving it. Its like he knew.

    Another reason I write here today is a photo. While looking for something else one sometimes finds a treasure. Today’s treasure was a photo from a ’97 visit to LA during which my ex and I were at your house for dinner, which I had not seen in 5 or more years. Ironic I find it this morning! Dad and Mom with my ex and I. I did meet you at the house that night, but I would be very surprised if you remember.

    Yet another reason to post is where my home is located. ??? I live on the Cape, in Orleans, and if I’m correct, your parents spent their honeymoon 3 houses down the street! Not far from Boston. Congrats on your first role, by the way!

    Fun and funny. Spreading the laughter. For the well being of others. And so many other things I’ve read in this blog. I experienced the same special things from our days in Old Town. Your Dad’s faith may have had the greatest influence on me. On Feb. 24th, 1984, I became clean and sober! Hard not to think of Dad’s birthday when the most important day in my life follows. As I went thru some really difficult days and months your Dad, unlike most others, always cared!!! And I was not an easy person to care about. He would no doubt get me laughing or talking sports. I would sometimes ask him questions about his faith, which he would readily answer, but he would never ever preach! He always listened and I remember him saying to me ‘,Dave, Dave, Dave,’ Like he knew someday it would be ok.

    We lost touch over the years, sadly so, though I still liked to talk about my friend who made it to Hollywood! On December 1st I was telling my Nephew about Don, so we checked Wikidpedia for the latest news on his career and it was then I learned of your Dad’s death.

    I never told your Dad how much he meant to me! How his words and humor helped to make my days. How his beliefs reassured me. His ‘Dave, Dave, Dave,’ brought some serenity. But now I think he did know. He does know!

    I’m happy you’ve decided to keep the blog going, if not I would have missed your post and not have posted this today.

    Carrie, Molly, Andrew and Kate, I’m so sorry for your loss. You will be in my thoughts and prayers. I hope all your memories of Dad and Don will bring endless smiles.

    One last thing, Carrie. I read your blog again. Snazzy hotel, restaurant, laughing at other’s dancing…………what I wouldn’t give for a picture of Dad grooving in front of a mirrored wall. It’d make for a great B’day gift!!


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