In My Ohio

​On Those Holiday Birthdays

Darren C. Demaree
​I was born in March, so I know nothing of the pain of being born in the latter half of December, when your birthday can be swallowed up by any number of things. You have the holidays, New Year's, end of the year work/semester responsibilities, and then there are the near-virgins to offer to the Earth’s demon overlords. I’m just kidding about the last one, but how good was “Cabin in the Woods”? It was really good.
Anyway, all that can’t be easy for those with birthdays wedged in between those “important” events, and three of the most important people in my life are all forced into afternoon movies, quick meals, and extraordinary acts that occasionally take precedent over the holidays themselves. In honor of those three people, I wanted to give them each a little extra attention for this year’s celebration of them. There can never be enough celebration for these awesome people.

​#1 Grant Demaree, little brother, water enthusiast, and hand-shaking expert

​My little brother is going to turn ten this year. He is a ball of energy and really the sweetest soon-to-be ten-year old I’ve ever met. He wants everyone to hug each other, to shake each other’s hands multiple times, and if you look sour he will lift up your chin and check your eyes to make sure everything is okay. He’s autistic, but that hasn’t slowed him down much at all. His vocabulary is growing, he’s doing better at school, and he keeps my dad and his wife, Anita appropriately exhausted. If I ever decided to storm the throne, Grant is my inside man, and he is definitely making sure there will be no energy left for the king’s army. Grant is epic in every sense of the word. He will get his birthday party this year, because he’s still young, but not enough can be said about how much beauty this little brother of mine possesses. He may be a gift that takes a little while to unwrap sometimes, but he is a gift for sure.

​#2 Hannah Jones, godmother to my kids, college compatriot, and one of the seven women that guide my path

​Hannah has one my best friends, her husband Zane Jones to make sure she feels special on her birthday, but during college she always had to settle for a phone call to Oregon from all of us that were from Ohio (probably having a party together and drunkenly yelling at her that she should be in Ohio). Well, she lives in Ohio now, so we can just show up at her house and yell those things. Hannah is a tough lady, a soft touch though, and she is probably owed a decade or two worth of extra birthday celebration just to bring her even with the rest of us. So, here’s to Hannah, not a single person that knows her can imagine a world where she wasn’t an important part of their lives. Zane, actual presents fall to you again, but you’re a worthy, skilled husband. I’ll chip in ten bucks if you get her a tree stump with her name carved in to place in front of your house. There’s that guy on Indianola that will do it for you.

​#3 Jean Scott, mother, extreme baker, and holiday savant

​My mom is always caught up in the planning of the holidays, and wedges her birthday into a three or four-hour period as close to her birthday as she can fit them. She has already started cooking food for the holidays. She told me this Sunday she was baking crab appetizers to freeze to make it easier on her when the time came for our big meal. She does this every year. She’s the best. For her, I’d love to learn how to make all of her holiday cookies, so I can be in charge of just one. Maybe each year I can learn how to make a new kind of cookie, and eventually, her husband Tim will be able to give her a full day of birthday fun. Would preparing and baking six to ten dozen cookies buy you that time, Tim? It’s tough to turn off the mom thing, as I rarely turn off the dad thing, but once a year I think we can find her an extra six hours at least. She’ll still be the best.