A Birthday Fable




On Wednesday, November 2nd, my mother-in-law Julia Adair will be 77 years old. She has traversed a million miles and countless moments since her birth in Colorado in 1939. Like so many others in our lives, it is likely that we only know the mundane or superficial aspects of their lives. So is the case with Julia; most know her as a dedicated nurse or dog aficionado. She lived an entire life before embarking on her later career.

I took this picture in early 2008, just as spring had begun to encroach on the world. Julia went to Philadelphia to attend a reunion of her old boxing friends. I drove Julia so that I could witness firsthand how lively such a group of people might still be.

Julia was one of the original Fighting Femmes, having won all but two of her semi-professional boxing matches. After tearfully departing the reunion, Julia wanted to stop at a farm not too far from the city. She recounted a story involving her and her fellow feminine fighters when they had unexpectedly stopped nearby for a picnic on a glorious late spring afternoon in the late 50s. I could see the gleam in her eye as she spoke of her youth, the camaraderie, and the opportunity to see the world as only a young person can.

Julia told me that many times she compares all of her meals to the delightful one she shared with her friends, under the sun, so many decades ago. I think she could still hear the laughter echoing from that day.

Even though Julia isn’t fond of pictures, she stepped out onto the lonesome highway and danced a few steps, drawing the elusive past back with her for a small, fleeting moment. Time stood still for her on the edge of that country highway, as it sometimes does for those who deserve a peek back inside their own histories.

Happy birthday, Julia.

Keep throwing punches as you see fit.

Love, X

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