In 2001 or 2002, when I was writing "The Way We Were" column (a compilation of news items from 25, 50, 75, and 100 years ago) for the Elkhart Truth, I came across an article from 1901 or 1902 quoting Mark Twain to the effect that he tried to keep November 30 from coming around, but it always did. I haven't gotten old enough to make the effort to stop the birthday Twain and I share from coming around. In fact, I looked forward to it. Actually, I celebrated it with my family on the 28th, as my days off are Wednesday and Thursday, and on Thursday evening I make the long drive back from Elkhart to Bloomington. The drive was made more interesting from "The Century" on audiotape that my wife found for me. That's the ABC News production, narrated by Peter Jennings, which is a sort of oral history of America in the 20th Century. And on Wednesday night the family was doubled over with laughter watching the DVD of "Fractured Flickers," that my daughter Sarah sent me.
My birthday cake won't be until next week. Kathleen didn't have time to make it, mainly because she's had to drive our son all over the place. Jim fractured his fifth left metatarsal (what the doctor called a Jones fracture) at a Halloween dance party. He and his girlfriend were dressed up like characters from Grease, and Jim was trying to dance like John Travolta. He was wearing a pair of my old Converse Chuck Taylor All-Stars shoes, and when he came down on his left foot, the shoe just turned with his foot. So he's got one of those plastic boots on his foot for at least another two weeks.
But next week I'll have the cake--Rigó Jancsi, a Hungarian pastry from that wonderfully decadent world of the Austro-Hungarian empire of the late 19th century. It was named for a Hungarian Gypsy violinist who managed to seduce an American heiress who had become a Belgian princess. More on that later.