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Hi! I'm Paul. This is my blog. It is the best blog.

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© 2004-2017 Paul Woodford. All rights reserved.

Wednesday Bag o’ Genes: a Birthday Photoblog

This post is all about me. Me, me, me. But hey, at least you’ll see some photos to break up the monotony!

I turned 70 on Halloween. I remember, as a kid, calculating how old I’d be when Halley’s Comet came. The year would be 1986 and I’d be 40. I couldn’t imagine either number: 1986 was impossibly far in the future, and it defied reason I’d ever be 40. My parents weren’t even that old!

And yet Halley’s Comet did come, along with the once-distant future and my 40th birthday, and now by gosh I’m 70. Well, if Father Time was determined to force a 70th birthday on me, I might as well make the best of it, right?

I’d always been curious about my genetic makeup, so this year I mailed $99 and a tube of spit to Ancestry DNA, hoping the results would arrive in time for my birthday. The report came back several days ago and I sat on pins and needles waiting for the 31st so I could open it. Here it is:

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The first Woodford arrived in the New World before the Pilgrims, or so I’ve been told. I figured the longer my forebears had been here, the greater the chance one or more of them might have strayed from the path of righteousness, wink wink nudge nudge. Alas, there are no traces of African or Native American blood in my veins. I’m whiter than Wonder Bread. Ancestral Woodfords, I’m disappointed. Where was your sense of adventure?

The DNA test was a present to myself, along with the bat-resistant hummingbird feeder I had to return when Donna angrily informed me I’d spoiled my birthday surprise: she was giving me the identical feeder.

On the big day I woke up and read the DNA test results, shared them with Donna, then sent copies to my four sisters and our son. An hour later I was off to Pima Air & Space Museum for my weekly volunteer shift. I had some extra time between tram tours, so I dropped by the B-17 hangar:

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I posted the B-17 selfie to Facebook, along with a snarky comment about finally finding something older than me to pose with. I should have posed with one of the other volunteers, because they’re all in their 80s. That B-17 was built in 1945, it turns out, and is only one year older than me!

Halloween night I grilled steaks while Donna distributed candy to trick or treaters. After dinner I unwrapped the hummingbird feeder, a three-pack of new undershirts (white like me!), an Amazon gift card from a friend (with which I bought a couple of Kindle books), and a check from my late father’s wife Lois (which will probably go toward more books). The nicest surprise, by far, was a visit from our daughter Polly, who brought along her boyfriend Joel for us to meet. Here’a photo of Polly with the hummingbird feeder, and another with Polly and Joel:

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I went by my friend Ed’s the morning after: he discovered a nut and washer on the garage floor after we worked on my Goldwing last week, and fortunately remembered where they were supposed to go. After Ed and I put the missing hardware back, we decided to put a couple hundred miles on our bikes and ride to Willcox, near the Arizona/New Mexico border, for lunch. Here’s Ed buttoning up my bike, then the two of us by the train station in Willcox:

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Home from Willcox, I hung the new feeder outside our home office window, where I can watch it when I’m sitting at the desk. The old feeder had openings at the bottom and at first the hummingbirds were confused … they hovered around it but couldn’t figure out how to get at it. This morning, I see, they’ve cracked the code:

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Honestly, if I’d known how nice this birthday would turn out to be, I wouldn’t have dreaded it so! Fellow Baby Boomers, if you’re not there yet you soon will be, and I’m here to tell you 70 is not the end of the world. Hang in there!

© 2016, Paul Woodford. All rights reserved.

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