“Remember, remember the fifth of November.” Those words are the opening to a poem that commemorates the day Guy Fawkes tried to blow up the British Parliament, in 1605. For me, it’s a little memory device for remembering something far more important.
The day, 5 November, marks the day my family celebrates a major milestone. This year, on that day, my mom turned eighty-nine. Okay, so it’s not ninety or eighty-five; it is kind of an odd year, but it’s still important. At that age, every year is important!
With that in mind, we decided to get as much of the family together as possible. As the family is scattered across the country and across the globe, getting everyone together isn’t easy. Yet, we managed to get a good grouping.
My four brothers and I made it. A goodly number of the grand kids were there, and we even had several great-grandchildren in attendance! It was a good showing.
The first step was a dinner at my mom’s living facility. They set aside a nice cozy room and arranged the chairs around a big oval table. Mom, of course, sat at the head. She made sure there was wine served. Then we selected our meal from a special menu. As we sat there, four generations gathered around the table, we happily chatted about what was going on in our lives and there were some visitors. Many of the residence staff dropped by to say hello to my mom and wish her well.
It was very nice, and the meal was excellent. Yet, it was stuffy, in a way. It was formal and my family has never been that; most definitely my mother has never been like that!
The true party came the next day. We got together at my brother’s house for an old fashion family bar-b-q. Ah, now that was how we celebrated something important!
My daughter and her boyfriend managed to make an appearance and my oldest nephew even popped up on the computer via Skype. We had burgers and macaroni salad, and that was just the first course. Oh, we had food on top of food, and drinks and coffee, enough to float a navy!
The best of the best came later, and I don’t mean presents. No, my mom was very firm on that issue: she didn’t want anything. After all, at her age, she pretty much had everything she wanted or needed, and this day all she wanted was her family gathered around her. Later in the day, once we’d had cake, we moved on to the entertainment phase of the festivities.
Oh, now did that lead to some real fun! We did the whole Beatles library; some Neil Diamond, classic rock and, I think, there were a few show tunes. My wife was hoping Britney Spears would come on, as she knew I was inclined to get up and do the full choreography for each number. I pointed out to her that I only did that when I was extremely drunk. I most definitely wasn’t that drunk.
Yet, the evening was not a total loss. My oldest brother loved “Wild Thing.” When it came on, he jumped to his feet, grabbed the microphone and let loose with a full volume rendition.
My wife videotaped the whole scene. I’m sure an edited copy will find its way onto YouTube. As for mom, she was in her glory. She sat off to the side, a sweet smile on her face, and just took it all in.
Yeah, everyone had a splendid time. It was a wonderful birthday for mom. May she have many more, Happy Birthday, Mom, my love now and forever!
Combining the gimlet-eye, of Philip Roth, with the precisive mind of Lionel Trilling, AJ Robinson writes about what goes bump in the mind, of 21st century adults. Raised in Boston, with summers on Martha's Vineyard, AJ now lives in Florida. Most of the time he writes, but sometimes he works at Disney World to renew his fantasies and get a few dollars more. AJ writes, with insight and passion, about his family and his dog. His liberal, note the small "l," sensibilities often lead to bouts of righteous indignation, well focused and true.
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