The sun is sweltering, the rain is steady, the beaches are swarmed, and school is out. It’s summertime again; mid-June to be exact. For a lot of people, it’s a time for celebration and vacation. The Knot.com even rated it as the most popular month to get hitched, love is in the air. Unfortunately for me, it’s the month Justin was killed, and it will always measure how long he’s been gone. It’s been three years now and this year feels no different than last. It kind of makes me wonder if it will always feel this way.
A few years ago my Aunt Jo Beth decided to go big and throw a soiree for my uncle Greg’s 60th birthday. She asked all of his friends and family members to write a personal story about Mr Bird. I was six months pregnant at the time and decided Justin should be in charge of ours. I was on pins and needles to see what tale he’d share, I knew it wouldn’t disappoint! I especially love how it brings new life to a simple yet fun day we all shared with my family years ago.
You don’t get many (if any) perfect days here on this earth, and chances are, when they do occur you don’t even realize they’re happening until you look back and reflect on the them. The truly great days can be remembered as if they happened just yesterday. Here is just a glimpse into one of those days.
A few years ago the Hinson-Ayers clan was in St Mary’s to visit Gamma and stay at the Bird house for the weekend. Whenever our families get together it is hard not to have a good time. It goes without saying that on this particular occasion karaoke was involved. There may have also been a little bit of drinking going on. I seem to remember Jo Beth serving an electric blue rum cocktail called a “zombie.” (Probably because too much of it and you felt like the walking dead).
You know it’s a real party when even Gamma joins in the singing. I recall a rousing rendition of “King of the Road.”
Anyway, we were all feeling good…..flying high. Between Billy and Greg it’s a wonder that anyone else got a chance to sing, but this night was a real karaoke marathon. Everyone sang numerous hits spanning about six decades of great tunes. Jessica and I could barely keep up.
After several hours of singing….and drinking Jessica and I decided to call it a night. One of our favorite things about staying at the Bird house (haha……the bird house) is staying upstairs in the loft. There is nothing like sleeping up there with no windows, no light, and no concept of what time of day it is. However, after all of that singing and drinking I guess we were feeling a little frisky.
Once the music died down and it seemed as if everyone was turning in for the night, well…..I won’t go into details, but let’s just say we were about to practice making a baby. Just as I was about to “go for it” something downstairs brought our escapades to a screeching halt. Nothing puts the kabosh on a 20-something year old libido like the opening bars of “Margaritiaville.” I guess Greg was saving that one for the grand finale. “Nibblin on sponge cake.” There was no way Billy was gonna sing the last song. It was more of an endurance race. Last man standing. Greg had saved that one for the encore.
Greg is the Karaoke King. All others bow down before him. His house,his rules. Karaoke is not over until Greg says it’s over and you have to respect that! Happy Birthday, Greg! We love you, and look forward to MANY more years of singing, partying, and just LIVING! I would not trade this family for anything in the world. It is an honor and a blast to be part of it!
Love you guys, Justin
In his own words, Justin described how much he loved living and was excited for the many years he had to come. Justin was killed only three months after he wrote this story. He was looking forward to a future that he would never have. I wish I could go back in time to this day and experience it all over again. I doubt I’d change a single thing. But I would hug him a little tighter and kiss him a little longer!
Thank you JoBeth and Greg for helping create this beautiful memory for us. It’s a story that Jax will enjoy to read about when he’s MUCH older!
We miss you like crazy Justin and we love you with all our hearts!