My Somehow Hopeful Birthday Wish…

What kind of a birthday card does one buy for a person in prison? Now consider the fact that this person has been wrongfully convicted and that he has served nineteen years of a life sentence. The answer didn’t come easily as I went to purchase my very first one.

When I turned over the calendar to March a few days ago, there it was in big bold words, Keith Kutska’s birthday-Keith being one of my five guys serving a life sentence in the Wisconsin Monfils case. I’ll note that for the past two years Keith has sent me a beautiful birthday card that he paid for out of his prison account. Money is a precious commodity and every penny counts but he chose to use it to buy me a card….twice. What’s more, I do not recall ever telling him when my birthday is so he took the initiative to find out. And both years the cards came on the exact day of my birthday.

Most cards say Happy Birthday but that didn’t seem appropriate. Of course, you do want the person receiving it to have a cheerful and special day but I didn’t want to make a fuss or totally ruin his day. But the choices are slim so I did choose a card that says “Happy Birthday”. However, I’m crossing out “Happy” to instead say “Hopeful” Birthday which I think is more appropriate with what it says on the inside: “Wishing you everything that will make this day a special one for you”.

To my friend Keith whom I wrote this blog piece for, I hope that this card puts a big smile on your face and that all of your hopes and dreams come true this year. I also hope that by the time your next birthday rolls around you’ll be able to celebrate it at home in the loving arms of your wife and life’s companion.


Your friend,



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