On Friday I celebrate my 35th birthday. To mark the occasion today, I want to delve into some interesting trivia about where and when I come from. Or at least I should say that I want to go over some trivia. Whether or not it is interesting remains to be seen. Decide for yourself. Either way, what follows is something of my origin story.
I was born at the Glendive Medical Center on November 5th, 1986 in Glendive, Montana to Byron Doyle Mullet, a native of Eastern Montana, and Alice Ann Mullet, maiden name Ranew, originally from Milton, Florida, near Pensacola in the panhandle of that state.
You will forgive me for not remembering, but I checked The Old Farmer’s Almanac and found out that the high was 60 degrees Fahrenheit on the day I was born. The low was 35 degrees. There was no precipitation, and the mean windspeed was 7.02 MPH.
The Black Valley
The history of the naming of my hometown is that Sir George Gore, a wealthy Irish sportsman, named his favorite hunting area “Gleanndubh” in 1855. The name of the town at some point was anglicized to “Glendive” after a combination of the two Irish words meaning ‘valley’ and ‘black.’
Thus I come from a town in Eastern Montana named after “the black valley” nestled along both banks of the Yellowstone River on the outskirts of Makoshika State Park. Said park is named after the Lakota Sioux phrase meaning “bad land,” or “bad spirits.”
The local high school sports mascot is the Red Devil, and my father and grandmother especially always did hate that – writing into The Ranger Review about it a time or two, if I am not mistaken.
My wife’s maiden name is Duff. And Duff is a Scottish surname which my research has concluded comes from that same Gaelic word ‘Dubh’ which helped form the name of my hometown.
What precisely the significance of these two facts in relation to one another might be, I cannot say for certain. All I know is that I am delighted because my favorite color is black. Or is my favorite color black and did I marry my bride because I hail from “the black valley”? Cue dramatic music.
The day I was born being November 5th, the people of the United Kingdom celebrate every year as ‘Guy Fawkes Day’ to reflect on the failure of the Gunpowder Plot, an attempt in 1605 to blow up Parliament and retake the country for Roman Catholicism.
But the year I was born in being 1986, I have learned that the United Nations designated the ‘International Year of Peace.’ And that is a funny kind of alignment with November 5th, if you are the sort to entertain a connection between a day and a year in saying something about auspices.
Guy Fawkes Day in the International year of Peace, eh? You don’t say!
A decent number of famous movie stars, musicians, and athletes were born the same year as me. Now I am officially old enough to run for President of the United States. But so what?
What does all of this mean or matter? Can anything be gleaned about who I am as a man from pulling on all these diverse and eccentric threads?
“Vanity of vanities” the Preacher says in Ecclesiastes. “All is vanity.” And while my rehearsing these factoids may be interesting and entertaining in its way, it may also be chasing after wind if I stop short of a certain conclusion.
Of course, all of this is interesting to ponder. Where in the world we are from, what family we are born into, when we reach certain stages of development and what is going on in the wider world when we do – all of these have some kind of bearing and influence on who we turn out to be, certainly. But only God knows for sure and precisely to what extent and end. And I for one am okay with that.
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