“A tree has but many leaves and branches, but only one trunk” from The Secret Language of Birthdays by Gary Goldschneider & Joost Elffers

Dave Amonson by © Lori Maloney

“Dad and I chatted about how he’d like to be photographed for this project and we both had the same idea…

In 1929 my grandfather built a cabin to ‘prove up his homestead’ in northern B.C.  The cabin remained on the family farm even after he’d built a more substantial home.  In 2004, after my grandparents had passed, my dad, together with help from his family, disassembled the cabin, tagged each log with cattle eartags as he went, and reassembled it in the loft of our barn.  Today it stands as a tribute & reminder of our heritage and of the pioneering spirit that built Canada.

I believe this portrait is a wonderful representation of who Dad is: friendly, committed to preserving history, and willing to go out of his way for what he believes in.  Dad’s one-of-a-kind & it’s my great privilege to be his daughter. Thanks, Dad, I love you.” – Lori M

Image by © Lori Maloney

An Interview with Dave

Q. What is your best memory/moment from one of your past birthdays?

A. We’re restoring and renovating a railway station as a family gathering place. For my 65th birthday, my family coordinated a “station raising” work day where forty individuals came for the day. We organized groups of two to four folks who completed tasks during the day and stayed into the evening for a barbeque, complete with themed birthday cake and touching tribute. Surrounded by family and friends, building legacy relationships and reinforcing our roots; a wonderful day.

Q. How about the worst? And why?

A. I am blessed with abiding love by my whole family. I don’t recall a bad moment.

Q. What was the present you’ve received for your birthday that most surprised you?

A. Two big birthday surprises come to mind: For my 60th birthday, my family organized a large, surprise party at our home. The guests gave me a memory book. I enjoy browsing through that album and remembering the events and relationships recorded there. Second, my wife, Bernadette, arranged a trip for us to New York City. The specific birthday surprise included tickets to a Yankee baseball game.

Q. Is there one food or dish that you insist on eating during your birthday celebration?

A. A birthday cake is common. My favourite is spice cake.

Q. What do you believe is the most important aspect of celebrating a birthday?

A. During my formative years, birthdays were just part of the cycle of life; acknowledged with little fanfare. Since leaving the farm, individual birthday celebrations have been the norm.

Q. Do you/your family/culture have any traditions/rituals/ceremonies that are performed to celebrate birthdays? What is it?

A. Milestone recognition helps reinforce security and belonging.