Simple birthday

Today is Sweet William’s birthday and we celebrate simply.  I gave him a silly card, a snickers bar and a CD of The Isaacs‘ The Living Years album.

Bill at dad's 90th2

There is a time for everything and a season for big elaborate parties, complete with festive decorations and a gift-laden table.  This is not one of those years.

Truth be told, we are both a little melancholy today though joyful to be sure.  Perhaps it’s because at this age there are so many memories to contend with.  We recently went to the place where Bill’s parents lived until their death.  It was an emotional trip, visiting the few remaining relatives living in the area, some aged, some confined to a nursing-home bed, some so forgetful I wonder if our visit will be remembered.

We both realize we are getting “up there” in years.  We are the older generation now.

Today we tried to recall what time of day he was born.  I remember this day was also my mother’s birthday and how we celebrated them together so many years past.

Bill’s older brother called to wish him greetings this morning.  They laughed and told jokes to each other.

The one and only son from too-far-away called in the afternoon, and I could hear the talking and the listening from the other room.  Father speaking to son with words familiar and tender.

Family is so important, whether we are young or old, near or far.

We ate a simple breakfast of sausage and pancakes, his special request.  The CD was playing “Grandpa, tell me ’bout the good old days,” and I could barely eat for the lump in my throat as I thought of the goodness of God in our “good old days” and the present where we now are.  That we are even sitting here together is no small miracle.  He and I have sailed rough waters in our years together.  God has been faithful.

I remember fondly the many birthday celebrations around our big table.  Favorite desserts for the celebrant were made with love, and there were stories and laughter and love in the atmosphere.  There was one year when each of us wore the birthday hat that started on my special day.  It was really a cardboard birthday cake handmade by the grandchildren but fit perfectly on my head.  It was our joke of the year.

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In the next couple of days Sweet William and I will gather with friends, family.  We will enjoy their company and eat good food.  I will bake his favorite pecan pie.

It’s the simple pleasures I treasure most.  Memories.  Communion around the table.  The smiles and laughter.  Friendships bonded.  Music in the air.  A kiss and a tear.

Birthdays are to be celebrated.  This year we celebrate simply.

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