A star danced

August 12.

Once upon a very long time ago, a man and a woman sat on a swing set near midnight in far northeastern Maine, watching the Perseid meteors overhead and planning their future adventures. The immediate adventure was a backpacking trip across Europe a year from then, but, that night, the adventure grew larger, more serious, and more wonderful when they decided, yes, let’s get married while we’re at it.

200-odd years even longer ago, in 1761, under those same dancing stars, the nascent town of Thetford, Vermont, was born when King George III signed the royal charter that provided its name and its boundaries.

Fast-forward to another birth, on another August 12. It’s that dim in-between time—not quite night, but still a couple hours from dawn—when no one in their right mind is moving, no one and nothing but the shooting stars, and our new little girl.

On this August 12, our little girl is twelve years old.


She knows a lot of things, this twelve-year-old, including things I would never have known without her. Here’s one: today is her Golden Birthday (the birthday when your age matches your birth date). I wish I’d known about Golden Birthdays when I was eight.

So, tonight we’ll celebrate a Golden Birthday, and our town’s birthday, and the anniversary of that night on the swing set, and we’ll hope for clear starry skies, and a meteor or two on which we can hang our wshes for many more happy August 12ths to come.


  1. Happy birthday! Somehow I knew from the title alone what this was about. Must be a mom thing.

    Wait–do you live in THETFORD? We spent 4th of July weekend there with my husband’s family!!! We went to the celebrations “downtown” We stayed in Thetford center to be precise. This is just too bizarre.

  2. Happy Birthday and Congratulations! And wowser, how did that baby I met 10 years ago at T’s birthday party get to be, gulp, 12!?

  3. give hyla my very best belated birthday wishes! she is indeed the wisest twelve year-old i have the privilege of knowing. i hope her golden birthday lived up to its promise 🙂

  4. Birthday Wishes and Hugs for Hyla…what a beautiful girl she is. My Golden Birthday was when I was 21 and I remember celebrating it as thus at the time…it seemed extra special turning an official adult and all. Hope you all had a great time celebrating at 6 Flags!

  5. R – I did not know or had forgotten that you two pledged your troth under the Perseids. There is a thing Nick’s family says to me, and to their stepdad, that I love: We’re glad we married you.

    We all are very very glad we married YOU.

    Good luck with the pickles!

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