I always make the same joke this time every year by saying that it's easy to remember Peggy's birthday - it's the same as Alice Cooper's: February 4th. But unlike the onetime shock rocker born Vincent Furnier, Peggy, born Margaret A. Noon, has never done anything shocking in her life, with the exception of marrying me.
This time last year, I had developed some sort of back problem that was to wind up causing me to have surgery in September. Who do you think it was who, every morning from January through September, as I donned my red socks, would tenderly and lovingly rub my back to loosen it up for another day at the rodeo? Who would apply salves, unguents, ointments and back plasters to the affected area? Who did more than I did when it came time to shovel out two immense blizzards? Who went with me to all the doctor appointments and pre-visits and pre-physicals and orientations ("You and Your Surgery: A Survival Primer") and kept track of all the medications and treatments and I don't know what-all else? Who slept overnight on a sofa in my room that might have been better suited, size-wise, to a third-grader?
While I'm on the topic, who takes care of my mother's finances, which are only a little less complicated than Tim Geichner's GM bailout plan? Who works with my sister to make sure Mom has her pills and even takes some of them every now and then? Who writes Mom's checks, pays her bills, gets her grocery list to me every Thursday?
Who's the emotional rock that two siblings have turned to during her brother's recent sudden illness and passage?
Who's been with the same firm for almost 38 years now and has a sterling work record (and knows where all the files are?)
Who is it that my late father called "the best thing that ever happened" to me?
Whose smiling face begins and ends every day of my life?
Who will be embarrassed by all this heaped-on encomium?
The answer, my friend, is my wonderful Peggy. You know what happens all the time, when we run into people who know me and not Peggy? They invariably say, "How in the world do you put up with him?" at first. And then, after a few minutes in her company, they know how her amazing love conquers all.
I believe in many things. I believe in the infallibility of the Democratic party. I believe in love. I believe that proceeding hopefully is the best way to proceed, and I don't believe in misusing the adverb "hopefully." I believe in trust and faith and in shouting out "Baba Booey! Baba Booey!" at inappropriate times.
And I believe in predestination, and that a wise and wonderful God sent me a perfect angel to love. I'm glad that you love her too! That makes her happy, and I believe that anything that makes Peggy's heart glad is a good thing.
Thank you, world, and thank you, Peggy. Happy Birthday!