Happy Birthday, Marcus

As the old saying goes, “My, how the time does fly when you’re having fun!”

Hodgepodge, May 14, 2011:

It was very quiet at Rochester Airport Saturday. Most of the people were waiting for the 1:48 flight from Washington, D.C. to arrive. It was quiet, that is, until the Hodge-Knight-Cognetti families ascended upon the airport.

They were waiting to welcome the newest member of their family, little Marcus Hodge, who had been in America for a few hours at that time Saturday afternoon after arriving from his native Ethiopia with his parents, my youngest son, Adam and his wife, Shelley.

Hodgepodge, June 

Marcus is showing signs of maturity.  Last year when he was 1, he enjoyed rides in his stroller. Now, at 2, his preferred mode of transportation is to be driven around in a golf cart.  

While two-year-olds seem to be noted for their ability to throw sudden tantrums, I didn’t see any of that from Marcus. He did, however, have a little problem adjusting to his family’s social activities after waking up from his nap. (He has something in common with his Papa Roy in that department).

On his birthday Marcus was learning a new trick. He was mastering the skill of putting two fingers together in a sort of victory sign when asked how old he was.

Hodgepodge, June 29, 2013

Like many three-year-olds, Marcus has a solid supply of toys. A good way to get an idea of what kind of toys are popular in the life of a three-year-old is to get invited to a birthday party.

All kids have special favorites, and topping the list for Marcus is anything on wheels – especially anything on wheels that you might see around a construction site. Thomas the Train is chugging into the toy box as a close second.

Adam is quick to point out that as far as Marcus and his toys are concerned, he and Shelley are fortunate – or maybe not.  The growing arsenal of fun on wheels is spread out among three different places.

Adam, Shelley and Marcus live in the Rochester suburbs, and Marcus has toys in his bedroom, which are flowing into the rest of the house.  

Around the corner is Grandma Marcia’s house, where Marcus spends a lot of time and also has an abundance of his favorite playthings. And, during several months of the year the family, including Marcus and his playthings, spend a lot of time at their mobile home camper.

Party Time Again

And, that brings us to 2014 and it was birthday party time again. 

There were lots of wrapped up presents, a big birthday cake, ice cream, balloons hanging from the trees, and a whole bunch of grandmas and grandpas – a very important part of any birthday party for a four-year-old.     

Some of the slow and weary old-timers (did I say that?) were learning new games and some of us were making moves at a slow pace that were still a surprise to most observers. (Like getting up out of our chair). 

I was introduced to some of Marcus’ newest friends from the neighborhood.  Caitlin was a very pretty, freckled young lady, and I also met Joey, Ian and Julia.  

Marcus and I played one of our favorite games – Monsters. You know how it goes – one of us sneaks up on the other, makes a funny face, and roars like a monster.

At one point I noticed Marcus whispering in Caitlin’s ear. Then Caitlin got up, came over towards me, made a funny face and growled at me. When I acted surprised, Marcus had a hard time containing his laughter – then he ran over and made a face to be a monster too.          

More on (not moron): 

Vanity plates: A couple we saw over our weekend trip to Marcus’ birthday party:

2BONEMN Orthopedic man or trom- bone player?

ROSYCKS Rosy Cheeks?

A Canadian plate: ITS5SMWR It’s 5 somewhere?



“When fish are in schools, they sometimes take debate.”

“When the smog lifts in Los Angeles U.C.L.A.”

“A thief who stole a calendar got 12 months.”

“A dentist and a manicurist married; they fought tooth and nail.”

“A will is a dead giveaway.”

“With her marriage she got a new name and a dress.”


As I thought about Spiegle, I thought about his daughter, Cynthia. Spiegle was never without Cynthia, and Cynthia was never without Spiegle’s trombone and case.


It was a letter from Ralph Riker of Silver Springs, FL a couple of weeks ago that got me thinking about my friend, Spiegle Willcox, when Ralph mentioned that he had lived for 25 years in Spiegle’s hometown of Cincinnatus, N.Y.

A few days later I realized that I had heard from Ralph before – just one year ago. Last year, when I was reporting in about Marcus’ third birthday, I also had heard from Ralph:

“In your June 8 column you mentioned the song titled ‘One Meatball’ . . .”  He continued, “As a kid I heard that expression, ‘You get no bread with one meatball,’ quite a number of times.  My mother made very good spaghetti and meatballs . . . and I must have frequently dished up one meatball and asked for more bread, and one of my parents would say jokingly . . . ‘You get no bread with one meatball.’

“I never really knew that they were words in a song until I read it in your column.”

Thanks again, Ralph. 

. . . Roy Hodge 

Share this story:
Facebook Twitter Pinterest Plusone Email

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *