Today is my birthday. I was born five days ahead of Mom’s due date. As a child, I used to think it was no fun being born so close to Christmas. However, my family found ways to make it a great celebration. We all got to pick our favorite dinner (back then it was home fried chicken, mashed potatoes and corn mixed together) and Mom’s famous chocolate cake with real whipped cream for icing. Many years later, my oldest brother remarked, “Gee, I didn’t know you could have a cake with icing. I thought they all came with whipped cream.” I remember her freezing the bowl and beaters, so the whipped cream would beat up faster. (Yes, I still do it that way, too!)
We put up our Christmas tree on my birthday. Anyone else remember making “snow” with Ivory soap flakes and pasting it on the tree? We had icicles made with lead base, colored lights, and handmade paper chains. When I got married, I was so surprised people put up their trees at Thanksgiving. To me, that was way too early.
Our celebrations were small, but heartfelt. Mom as a stay-at-home mom. Dad travelled a lot with his job. It was my three brothers, Eric, Mark, Keith and me as well as our dogs throughout life. We had Flip (named out of the Dick and Jane books,) followed by Koko (named after a young man Dad met in Korea while serving in the Air Force,) followed by Sam, who came after I left the household to attend college and have a full-time job.
We got to pick out our favorite 78 RPM records and play them starting on my birthday. That’s where my love of Big Band Swing began. “Begin the Bequine,” “Girl from Impanema,” “Green Eyes,” and the special, “Maria Elana” otherwise known as the song my parents met to while at a USO dance in Chicago during WWII. While I’ve never heard it, I understand ‘”Naughty Girl from Shady Lane” was playing on the car stereo on the way to the hospital for my birth.
We sat at the dining room table every night for dinner. We all had to read the Wall Street Journal and talk about an article. We also had to talk about two other things we did that day that were interesting. There was no TV on, no radio, and, naturally, no cell phones. (We only had two phones in our entire house in those days.) Yes, we talked.
We made snow angels in the front yard, rolled down the big hill on our sleds, and didn’t come in until the cow bell rang. We put out the birdseed all the time, and learned the species particular to the Midwest. We were in all the school and church plays. Life was good.
What are your birthday and holiday memories? Bless God for your family life and continue to bless Him for your current life. And thankfulness for another year with Christ, as we prepare to celebrate His birthday.
Blessings abound. Find yours today and make your memories.