Back on June 28th, we had a celebration for Terri Reardon's 40th birthday. We had a "family" dinner, and Ken, Peanut and I went in together to pick her out a spa package from Kim Nail to give her a special day all her own, with all the special touches to show her our love and appreciation. According to Kim and Denise, we needed to make it a weekly appointment to do justice to the many times we've imposed upon her.On Thursday, July 21, Peanut will turn 40. Two days later, on July 23, Sean will edge a bit closer as he celebrates his 39th birthday. We've already got plans in place for the weekend to celebrate all of the birthdays. Ken will be there, as will Mark and Ruth, and possibly Glen. When you're celebrating milestone occasions, you've got to have a group.When I turned 50, all of this group, plus a few extra folks, helped in the celebration. That's the way you're supposed to celebrate birthdays - with family and friends. And, I had my family around for my 50th, in addition to the friends. The friends I think of as my extra family members.I have many people with whom I have a good relationship and with whom I'm friendly. In a small town like Mason, one can scarcely not have friendly relations with large groups of people: work, school, church, clubs, interests. We build up our extended families as we add these folks into the clan.Over the years, I've had Marci, Kelly & Misty, Chuck & Julie, Steve, Denise, Brett.... We have people drift into our lives, become a vital part of all that we do, and then, like any family, we grow up and keep moving on with our lives. At this time in my life, the supplemental family members I have are the ones I work cattle with, pitch washers against, share meals, enjoy movies, travel, fight, console, argue and support. As I said, they are essentially family members.This week, I offer my congratulations to those extended family members as they either reach a milestone, celebrate having crossed one of those lines already, or anticipate the short time remaining before they join the rest of us in a new decade.I've said on more than one occasion that birthdays and the calendar are man-made constructs which really don't mean anything in the real scheme of things. But, they do help us mark our own passages of time. To think that the two 40-year-olds were born in 1971, while the 39-year-old was born in 1972. For me, those years also refer to the year that Connie & Randy graduated and got married. And, I turned 13. Of the three birthday celebrants, the only one I knew during their childhood was Sean. Tommy Reardon was both my arithmetic teacher and my Scoutmaster. Sean and his brother, Will, often showed up at various Scouting events, or visited their dad up at school. It is wonderful now, almost 35 years later, to be watching Sean & Terri's boys, Aaron and Connar, as I watched a previous generation of Reardons. I've gotten to know Terri and Peanut's families, so I almost feel that I have knowledge of what they were like as children. I may not have been there in the early years of their lives; but, I've been fortunate to have become part of their later lives. And, I think I'm probably a better person now than I've been in years, so I feel fortunate that they have gotten to know a "better" me than if they had known me many years ago.Happy birthday sister and brothers! May you have many more.It’s all just my opinion.