Reflecting on my Dad’s 80th Birthday

 Here is an article I wrote and published last summer (2009)  on my Dad’s 80th birthday.  It was published in the local papers in his area (Middletown [Maryland] Valley Citizen and Brunswick Citizen)
Frederick County Baseball Enthusiast Celebrates 80th Birthday with The Frederick Keys
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"Play ball!" That’s just what one Frederick County resident did to commemorate his 80th birthday at a Frederick Keys game June 28, 2009 .

Donald "Don" T. Taylor, lifelong resident of Frederick County, born and raised in Brunswick and residing in Middletown for the past 43 years, officially became 80 on May 19, 2009. His children presented him with the gift of a sky box at the game, the thrill of throwing out the opening pitch, and an announcement on the electronic board on the field.

"We had been planning this for nearly a year," states Donna Gaver, Don’s youngest daughter, of Middletown. Deanna Taylor, Don’s oldest daughter, of West Jordan, Utah, adds, "Baseball is Dad’s passion and we thought a night at the stadium would be the perfect gift."
Indeed it was.

The entire family, consisting of Don’s wife, his four children and their spouses, 9 grandchildren, and 4 great-grandchildren (one who was born on Don’s birthday this year!), plus a few friends, gathered at the stadium to celebrate Don’s big event with him.

"It was a very exciting game. The Keys were leading right up until near the end," says Frank Taylor of Keedysville, oldest son of Don. David Taylor, Don’s youngest son of Middletown, adds, "Dad had a great time regardless, though. I held some practice pitching sessions with him in preparation for throwing the opening pitch."

A fabulous fireworks display ended the evening of fun. "He was thrilled, of course," says Nadia, Don’s wife of 51 years. "We all had a wonderful time!"

Don said that being on the Keys playing field was "challenging, fun, and really thrilling to have had the opportunity to do something like that."

Don has had many baseball highlights in the past 80 years. "A personal highlight was pitching for Towson State Teachers college (now Towson University) in the late 1940’s. The highlight in professional baseball was seeing the Baltimore Orioles win three world series – that was quite a thrill."

Don has seen many changes in 80 years in Frederick County. Generally, the biggest changes have been its population growth and urbanization. "Frederick County was a rural farming county. There are still many farms but over the years that number has been
reduced due to the growth."

Don dabbled in politics in the late 1970’s and early 1980’s with his bids for House of Delegates. Although he did not obtain the seat for his district, he was glad for the experience of running a political campaign. "The whole family was involved in helping run the campaigns. I met many great people. Each campaign we ran involved a lot of exciting work."

Don points out an ironic bit of trivia about The Citizen Printing/Office facility which is in Brunswick on Main Street. "That building is the exact same building that my brother, Jerry Taylor, and I ran a service station out of around 1960."

About how it feels to be 80, Don states, "Glad to be here. I am the luckiest man on earth….I have such a great family."

Paraphrasing the words of Oliver Wendall Holmes when someone asked him how it felt to be 90, Don says, "Oh to be 70 again!"

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