Do you enjoy celebrating your birthday? Do you ever rent a hall and invite everyone you know to attend your big birthday bash?

I do, and this is why. I’m over 80 and find that I’m spending a lot of time attending funerals. If you attend funerals, you know that at funerals you learn a lot about the deceased that you might not have known the week before. At funerals the person officiating reads off a list of the wonderful ways that the departed helped So-and-so. People often stand up and share bits of information that you wish you’d known before.

At funerals, you often discover that you had a lot more in common with your late friend or neighbor than you realized and that you’ve missed your chance for some interesting conversations – or questions that will now be forever unanswered.

“So why wait until you’re dead, before a few of your friends will stand up and tell funny stories about you?” I asked myself. Have an 80th birthday party. It will give you a chance to attend your own funeral. See some of your friends for what might be the last time. Chat with them. Give them an opportunity to stand and say what they want about you, be it funny, good or even true.

You might remember reading in this space what Jo said at my birthday party a year ago: “The first time I met The humble Farmer, he told me I had to take off all my clothes.”

At the end of the column I explained that Jo was coming to work for me, and because I am deathly allergic to her cats, she would have to change into freshly washed clothing before we could work together in the same room. It was a good hook that certainly drew readers in. I couldn’t see wasting it.

My birthday is in January, so I decided to have a half-birthday party when friends wouldn’t slide off the road coming or going and could find a place to park without getting stuck when they got here. For that matter, I could have had it on any day. What difference does it make when you are planning what might be the last time you are surrounded by many friends?

Three of these funeral/half-birthday parties have come and gone. Each year the attendance at what might well have been my last birthday party has diminished, indicating a lack of interest in my demise. They’re getting tired of waiting.

As we just mentioned, there is much to be gleaned at any party by an observant mind. The next day a friend wrote that he really wanted to come but he couldn’t find the St. George Grange hall. He only knew that it was half a mile up the road from my house. And, being a man, he couldn’t stand the thought of being within sight of it and having to ask where it was.

There was plenty of room in the St. George Grange parking lot for those celebrating The humble Farmer’s recent half-birthday. Photo by Robert Skoglund

This is understandable, and I can sympathize. Many years ago on a busy street in Boston I asked a taxi driver to take me to the Copley, where I was to speak that evening. He pointed and said, “There it is. Get in.”

“I see it. You drive there. I’m going to follow you in my truck.” He did and I did.

Anyone familiar with Boston knows that just because you can see where you want to go doesn’t mean that you can get there. One false move and you’re doing 70 on a one-way street and the first exit is Framingham.

My friend Melanie agreed that men will not ask for directions. She said that years ago while on a trip with his family, her father got lost. They begged him to please stop and ask for directions. He resisted until they saw a man walking near the street. Her father pulled over, rolled down his window and politely asked for directions.

The man stuck his head in the window and filled the car with the smell of whiskey as he gave elaborate and contradictory instructions. Her father thanked him, rolled up the window and, with a smug look on his face, said, “That is why it never behooves you to stop and ask for directions!”

Please plan to attend my 83rd-and-a-half birthday party on July 18, 2019, which will be held around a table here in Marsha’s kitchen.

The crowd of friends is now manageable, and for the pleasure of your company and your stories, I’ll buy corn on the cob and half a dozen lobsters. Will you eat one or two?

The humble Farmer can be heard Friday nights at 7 on WHPW (97.3 FM) and visited at his website:

www.thehumblefarmer.com/ MainePrivateRadio.html