Wednesday, May 4, 2011


Happy birthday to Dr. Timothy David Moy, Trekker Extraordinaire, born on May 9th. During our three years together at Hammarskjold Junior High School in New Jersey, Tim and I were quite competitive academically, but I recall Tim always seemed to miss one or two questions less on a test than I did. Tim and I used to talk about Star Trek. I like to think our conversations benefited Tim as well, but he knew vastly more about Star Trek at the time. We both moved away at the end of junior high school and lost track of each other for about fifteen years. Then I looked up Tim and found him working at the University of New Mexico as a history professor. We renewed our friendship and occasionally conversed via email whenever something happened with later versions of Star Trek or with original cast members. Tim incorporated Star Trek Original Series episodes into his classroom lessons. Tim died in July 2007 on Kailua Beach Hawaii, trying to save his son from the surf. His son survived. Condolences and best wishes to Tim's family.

Tangentially, my father's high school science teacher was named Valentine Mayfourth. On May 4th, my father and his classmates set a cupcake on his desk with a lit cigarette in it to celebrate.

My first birthday party since early childhood was when Charlie, Francisco, John and Kim held a surprise party for me one day in May when I was 17, and it is still very much appreciated.

When I turned 25, I was living in a house at the dead end of Harold Court, just off Ausley Road, near the old Publix shopping center on Pensacola Street, across the street from what would later become Dave the Cat's veterinarian, Westwood Animal Hospital. Brad's band the Engines, with whom I occasionally played, set up on my front porch and jammed for an hour as the street filled with attendees from neighboring student villages.

My twenty-sixth was my most memorable and exciting birthday celebration, and friends to this day tell me it's the only party that they remember both police and fire departments attending. We advertised it for the Friday evening before my Saturday birthday a couple of weeks earlier with fliers to everyone we knew and their places of employment as a Keg Party for Mitch's Birthday, Cost $1.00, and all Mikes got in free. We knew lots of Mikes. "Bring your old appliances," we stated. For good measure, we took out a free advertisement in a local weekly newspaper for a garage sale to occur on the day of the party at 7:00 pm.

I once knew a prankster who delighted in advertising a garage sale for his unfriendly and vindictive neighbor at 6:00 am one morning and specified, "Early birds welcome" and "Everything must go." I can understand his merriment at watching the people who usually arrive at 6 am do so much earlier, and also ask to go inside, due to "Everything must go."

At that time, I lived in a two-bedroom one bath duplex at 835 White Drive, north of Tennessee Street, Highway 90 in Tallahassee. When I moved in, I found an old refrigerator in the side yard on its back, overgrown by the grass.

People began arriving to the party with their respective toasters, telephones, televisions and various other appliances. I didn't expect or ask for gifts, but one guest named Jack whom I barely knew brought me a new United States Silver Eagle coin that is now quite valuable.

I enlisted several guests' assistance in carrying the refrigerator into the back yard. There, we placed the refrigerator as it had been in the side yard, but opened up the door and threw our old appliances into the refrigerator, and set it all on fire.

"The flames climbed high in-to the night," and many people arrived, including visits from a couple of cars to attend the garage sale, even though the drivers were sure it had just been a misprint. We gave them beer.

Then we heard the sirens. Two police cars and a fire truck arrived and asked who lived there and word got through the throng to me to tell me that my attention was required. Law enforcement and fire officials were not happy. Besides the blazing appliance inferno in the back yard with prominent metallic-colored flames, they did not like the noise, the amount of people and the Tallahassee street signs which festooned most of the living room walls. I had found the signs when I moved in after the hurricanes of 1985.

The senior police officer told me to put the fire out and that they were taking my street signs, and said to me, "Your party is over. How many live here?" I wanted to keep as many of the crowd in attendance as possible, so I said, "Twelve. I have family visiting." He looked at me for a moment and said, "We are going to come back in thirty minutes, and if there is any fire or more than TWELVE people here, you are all going to jail."

We put the fire out with a garden hose. We left a note on the front door and took the party and our guests and the keg a few miles down the road to the parking lot behind Gumby's Pizza across from Poor Paul's Pourhouse and Bullwinkle's Saloon and continued the party there. At 2:00 am closing time, the bar patrons came to my birthday party. Around 4 am, several of us packed up the keg and a guitar and drove to Tom Brown Park to sing and watch the sun come up on my birthday.

 Photo behind Gumby's Pizza by Mike

No comments:

Post a Comment