Posted tagged ‘birthdays’

“But I love Halloween, and I love that feeling: the cold air, the spooky dangers lurking around the corner.”

October 31, 2015

Every kid’s calendar had only three days circled. The biggest and the best day of all was Christmas. Weeks of anticipation, making and changing lists for Santa and decorating the house and tree helped to make the time pass, but it passed ever so slowly, especially Christmas Eve. The second best day was Halloween. What will I be this year was the most important question and a topic of great discussion walking to and from school. The third circled day was our birthdays. They didn’t need any preparation and were anticipated but not with the same level of excitement as the other two days. My birthday came with a present, a few cards, always one with two dollars from my grandmother, and a cake. Blow out the candles, eat cake, open presents, and it’s over for another year. Christmas and Halloween seemed to last days. They had a before and an after.

Going to school on Halloween always seemed wrong somehow. We fidgeted and clock watched the whole day. I doubt we learned anything as our minds and imaginations were filled with costumes and candy. Arithmetic had no chance.

I remember the afternoon lasted nearly forever, not as long as Christmas Eve but a close second. We’d eat dinner then pester my mother to let us leave. She always said it was too early. We kept watch at the window hoping to see a treat or treater so we could prove my mother wrong. Finally we’d get to leave.

First we did the neighborhood then the side streets near the house. I have memories of leaves blowing, street lights shining on the sidewalks, walking all over town and eating as we walked. When house lights finally started going out and few trick or treaters were still around, we’d head home stopping now and then at a lit house.

Once home, we’d empty our bags into big bowls and do a bit of trading. We’d throw away the popcorn balls. My mother took the apples. They’d get eaten at another time. We’d eat a few more bars of candy then the bowls had to be put away. Though the evening was officially over, the candy lasted for days.

“The first week of August hangs at the very top of summer, the top of the live-long year, like the highest seat of a Ferris wheel when it pauses in its turning.”

August 6, 2013

Last night my feet were cold, and I closed the window in the den facing north. It was a wonderful evening for sleeping and both Fern and Gracie slept right beside me for warmth. Today will be another delight and tonight might just mean socks. The temperature all week will be in the mid to high 70’s during the day and the high 50’s to low 60’s at night. I figure that’s about as perfect as August can get.

My factotum is back today. Skip is right now replacing the two steps out my back door. Later, he’ll replace the long board on the deck that has a weak spot then he’ll paint the downstairs bathroom. This is the perfect week to work in the coolness of these days.

When I was young, I loved August because it is my birthday month. I knew I’d get presents and always a card from my grandparents with a five dollar bill inside. That was a treasure of great value in those days. Her whole life my grandmother never missed sending a card, but later, when I was older, the card had two one dollar bills instead of a five then a few years after that no dollars, just the card. I guessed she figured birthdays should only be celebrated by the young. I, of course, am of the opinion that birthdays should always be celebrated. The big holidays like Thanksgiving and Christmas are celebrated by most people, but that day, that birthday, is so special you never have to share (I know-one of you might mention twins but I’m disregarding that for now ). About this time in August I’d start the countdown to my birthday. It always seemed so far away. Time seemed to take forever to pass back then.

Time now runs swiftly. Once I was told the reason for that, and it made perfect sense. When you were four, that year was only one-fourth of your life, but each subsequent year you got older and the fraction got smaller. This last year was one-sixty fifth of my life, and that took only the blink of an eye to pass.

Yesterday my grand-nephew, Ryder, started school, second grade. Where has the summer gone because I didn’t notice it’s been leaving.

“I bring to my life a certain amount of mess.”

November 19, 2012

The weather? Cloudy again, and I’m disgruntled. I don’t think asking for a couple of days in a row of sun is an outlandish request. It should be compensation for days in the 40’s. I’d be happy with that.

Today Gracie is seven years old, but it didn’t start out to be a happy birthday. She was sick with an upset stomach. I had to clean up when I came downstairs this morning. Knowing a remedy, I took Gracie out front where there is a patch of grass she always nibbles on when we’re going to the car. She grazed and mowed down all the rest of the blades. I also gave her a couple of fronds from the spider plant. Right now she is sleeping beside me on the couch and snoring. I know she feels better because she enjoyed a piece of cheese and some of her dry food before taking her morning nap. We’re going for a ride later just to celebrate the big day!

Yesterday I made cookies and caused what my sisters would call a Kathleen moment. The cookie sheets were leaning against the back of a tall stool. When I pulled them up, I knocked the unopened 5 pound bag of flour on the floor. It upended the dog’s water dish and water went all over. I grabbed the flour and managed to keep it dry then I tried to clean up the water on the floor. In the process I overturned another dog dish which I didn’t realize had water in it from the first dish. Now the water was spread all over. I finally sopped up the small lake then washed the dog’s food mat and all her dishes. I put the flour in a container. All of that happened before I even started on the cookies. Good thing the cookies tasted so great: chewy coconut lime cookies. I brought them down to my friends for our regular Sunday evening. We have appetizers and dessert, play a few games of Phase 10 and Sorry then watch The Amazing Race together. It’s a great Sunday tradition.

Today is a nothing day. I do have one necessary stop then no other plans. My bed will stay unmade. The clothes will remain in the dryer one more day. The cabinet won’t get organized. I am ambition-less.


“I often think that the night is more alive and more richly colored than the day.”

October 16, 2012

Around 1:30 last night (although I suppose it should be early this morning) I was roaming around the house unable to fall asleep so Gracie and I went outside for a while. It was a misty, warm night. When Gracie went down to the backyard, she triggered her sensor lights so I joined her. She roamed while I picked up and piled a few fallen branches and emptied the bird bath. One house had lights on, but it always does no matter the time of night, but the other houses were dark. I went about my yard cleaning then came back inside. It was well after 2 before I went to bed. By then I could hear the rain: the gentle mist was gone.

Today is sunny and warmer than predicted. It’s the sort of day which makes me glad I’m not working, not staring out the window and wishing I could sit in the sun. Happily, the day is mine to do with as I choose, no wishes necessary.

Nothing in today’s papers made me glad, except maybe the comics.

Two of my friends are coming to dinner. I missed their birthdays in September so tonight we’ll celebrate. Their brightly wrapped gifts are ready to be opened, and I have my shopping list for the grocery store, one of a few errands I have to do before tonight. We’re having sausage shepherd’s pie, a favorite of mine they haven’t ever had. I figure some crusty bread will perfectly complete the meal. I’m thinking a round loaf.

With the storm doors up and almost all the windows closed, the house is quiet. Gracie is sleeping on the couch beside me, and she is lightly snoring, and every now and then she sighs; they are the only sounds I can hear. The window in my bedroom facing the backyard is still open, and last night I fell asleep to the sounds of the night birds and the rain. How wonderful that was.

“Birthdays are good for you. Statistics show that the people who have the most live the longest.”

August 17, 2012

Mornings this time of the summer are lovely. The air is still cool from the nighttime and the sun has a sharpness that highlights even the smallest leaf. My cats sleep sprawled in the sun shining through the front door while Gracie sleeps in her crate and snores loudly enough to be heard here, down the hall in the den.

When I woke up this morning, I rushed downstairs to open the front door expecting to see a planter of mums. I didn’t and was disappointed. My friend has never before failed to leave them on the steps. I stood there bemoaning the morning then I noticed the mums were by the gate. The festivities can begin.

When I was a little kid, I’d rush to the mailbox hoping for cards and hoping to find a dollar or two tucked into each card. It wasn’t being greedy. Back then a dollar meant I could buy two new books, and two dollars was almost wealth beyond comprehension. One grandmother always sent a dollar until I was a teen then she sent five dollars. Even when I was in the Peace Corps she’d slip a dollar or two in the aerogramme which warned about enclosing anything. I doubt she even noticed, but I was always appreciative of those dollars. They were hard to come by in Ghana.

My mother always made the cake. Chocolate was my favorite. We’d sit around the table after dinner with the cake in the middle and the right number of candles on the top. I’d endure the singing. It always embarrassed me a little, still does. After the singing ritual, I’d blow out the candles, my mother would cut the cake, and finally I’d get to open the family presents.

This afternoon my friends are taking me on the lobster cruise out of Sesuit Harbor. It is the perfect day for a cruise with still air and all that sun. My camera battery is charged and ready. Come to think of it, so am I.

Today, in the normal course of events, I would be eligible for medicare!

“Our birthdays are feathers in the broad wing of time.”

August 17, 2010

They are my fault. The last two thunder and lightning storms started when I got up to go to the bathroom. This morning it was around three when the sky lit up several times over and over and the thunder roared. The same thing happened last week. It sounds unlikely I know, but it is far too much of a coincidence to ignore. I will no longer have any cold drinks before bed.

It is a damp, dark day, befitting after all the rain we had. The humidity is thick enough to cut, and the house feels closed as if the walls are getting closer. Nothing is stirring, not the slightest breeze. I do hear a few birds but all else is quiet, dulled by the heavy air.

The roads will be filled with tourists looking for something to do, something to amuse them and keep their kids occupied. The movie theater will be crowded and parking will spill over to the grass and the road across the street. I will stay home.

Today I will don my tiara, my long gloves and my favorite gown with matching slippers, figuratively of course, to celebrate this auspicious occasion. It is my birthday, and I am as old as I have ever been. My friend Clare always leaves on my front steps the biggest mum she can find, and there it was when I opened the door. I can think of no lovelier way to start a birthday. Tony and Clare will make dinner, all my favorites, and we’ll celebrate.

I don’t remember most birthdays when I was a kid. There were probably parties and gifts, but for some reason they never stayed in my memory drawers. I remember turning  twenty-one when my friends took me out for dinner and my first legal drinks. They had a few drinks themselves and forgot to buy my dinner. They also forgot the tip so I got stuck with both. Once they realized what had happened, they offered to take me out again, but, with tongue in cheek, I told them I couldn’t afford it.

Birthdays need to be celebrated with balloons, confetti, noisemakers and good friends. I’ll have those tonight, and it will be a grand celebration.

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