Jim and his lapdog Rafael, Rafie in need of a bit of love, November 2008, photo © 2008 by ybonesy. All rights reserved.
Jim is a Solstice baby. As a kid he resented that his birthday fell so close to Christmas. He still tells stories about how everyone gave him “combined” gifts. “Here’s your birthday and Christmas combined.”
We try to make a big deal out of his birthday. Separate gifts always, and not just a t-shirt. Definitely a birthday cake, homemade, with frosting and candles.
Jim’s birthday has passed and, yes, we’re on to Christmas, but before his carrot cake is just a few smudges of butternut frosting on the cake dish, I wanted to say a few things about him:
- See the photo of Jim and his lapdog Rafael? Well, Jim is something of an animal whisperer. Critters of all types love him. And the reason is that Jim lets creatures be themselves. He’s part animal himself, in a good way. He speaks to them through some special language. So when 75-pound Rafie sidles up to Jim on the overstuffed chair, Jim knows immediately that Rafie just needs to get on Jim’s lap and fall fast asleep. The way Sony gets to do on my lap.
- Jim loves the cold and winter. Right now he’s outside, has been all day, getting the corral ready to bring our horse over for the start of the new year. Jim works like a horse himself, and in the cool and cold months, he’s always outdoors. I used to think it was Jim’s Scandanavian blood (his grandparents were Swedes) that made him so comfortable in the cold, but I’ve come to realize, Duh, he’s a child of the Solstice. Winter doesn’t bother him one bit.
- Jim sometimes forgets to take off his fleece cap when he comes inside. Sometimes it’s not until he’s about to get into bed that he realizes he still has it on. Jim’s not the kind of guy to look at himself in the mirror, even when he’s brushing his teeth. Once I gave him an old-fashioned shaver and shaving brush for Christmas; guess what I added to my sister’s flea market goods a few years later? I like that he doesn’t have a vain bone in his body.
- Jim’s hair is longer than mine. He always said he wanted long hair, but since his hair is also wavy, he’d hit that awkward Bozo-the-Clown look and I’d beg him to cut it. Finally, he just did it. We both survived the “I am a ragamuffin” stage, and now he has lovely long hair that he pulls back into a pony tail, unless it’s right after a shower and he wants to make us all laugh (in which case he wears it loose, like Jesus).
- Jim doesn’t much care to get old. He came from the generation that mistrusted anyone over 30, and now being over 50, well, Jim doesn’t like to make a fuss over yet another birthday. But I have to say, and this isn’t my bias speaking, he’s aging well. About a dozen years ago we went to his 20th high school reunion. We took our newborn baby in a sling (she slept the entire event) and one guy asked if that was Jim’s grandchild in the sling. Apparently, most of Jim’s peers had their kids ages before and were already grandparents. I whispered to Jim that he definitely wasn’t old enough to be a grandfather. Yet.
- I can’t quite figure out if Jim is Sagittarius or Capricorn. His birth date is on the cusp, and he’s not the kind of guy who’d ever get his astrological chart done, so my only cues are the ones I find in astrology publications. I’ve always considered him to be a Sag, probably because they say that Sag and Gemini (me) are compatible. Which we are. But there are some aspects of Sagittarius that don’t fit Jim, such as being an optimist. Jim can be a “glass half empty” sort of fellow, which is something I’ve often thought had to do with the dark side of being a Solstice baby. Yet, he’s definitely adventurous, honest, outspoken, and independent—all qualities associated with Sagittarians. Then again, he’s got the Capricorn characteristics of being tenacious, resourceful, wise, and constant.
- Mostly Jim is kind-hearted, loyal, a good father and good steward of the earth, and the one I love.