Freedom Forever

I rip open the envelope, knowing I’d find a birthday card. You see, my friend, Richie, sends me one almost every year.

Yup, Richie, not like most of my friends, he sends a card, not an email. He spends his time buying, writing, stuffing, affixing and dropping me a card.

Richie’s act of kindness and friendship is appreciated as I rub my fingers across the card feeling its texture and message. I miss the bygone days, when folks shopped at Hallmark for just the right card.

From touching, I turn to studying the card’s artwork—a royal blue background with gold and white exploding fireworks.

I see the words, “HAPPY 75TH BIRTHDAY,” and think, “Wow, I’ve been around for three-quarters of a century. And who says attendance is not important. Seventy-five is quite an accomplishment in these rough-and-tumble days.”

I flip open the card and read:

Today’s a celebration of you…

the history you’ve witnessed,

the challenges you’ve overcome,

and the many lives

you’ve touched along the way.

Happy Birthday

I love those sentiments, especially the parts about overcoming challenges and the touching lives.

I place the card on the corner of my desk, where it will rest for a week under my tired gaze.

I start to drop the envelope into the trash, but for some unknown reason, I stop to glance at the stamp.

Old Glory—50 tiny white stars in a field of dark blue and 13 stripes in red and white and two words, “FREEDOM forever.”

“This is f’ing unbelievable! This stamp sums up the 2024 election in two beautiful words: Freedom Forever.”

One guy threatens and promises to take away the freedom of speech, the freedom of the press, the freedom to vote, the freedom to assemble, the freedom of reproductive rights, the freedom to practice one’s religion, the freedom to feel secure in your homes, the freedom of the press and the freedom to think and the other guy wants to protect all of those freedoms forever.

The beauty of simplicity, brevity and conciseness.

The beauty of realizing that the best gift I can get for my 75th birthday, I already possess.

My freedoms.

And when I close my eyes and try to blow out all those candles, I’ll wish for the good guy, the honest guy, the moral guy, the smart guy to win the election.

About the Author
Florida's Jewish short-story writer, speaker, film producer and retired attorney. He has authored, "A Hebraic Obsession", "The Hanukkah Bunny" and "The Greatest Gift." He produced an award-winning short film entitled, "The Stairs". Movie can be viewed on my TOI blog. ChatGPT says, Mort is known for his works that often explore themes of love, loss, and the human connection. Laitner has published several books , including “A Hebraic Obsession.” His writing style is characterized by its emotional depth and introspection. Laitner’s works have garnered praise for their heartfelt expression and keen insight into the human experience.
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