When I was very little and my grandmother still lived in town, she would come out to the farm and we would go out to dinner at the Riverside Supper Club and we would get to order dessert.
One year when I was fairly young, I had a birthday party at my house with cousins and second cousins. The house was built when I was three years old, so it was maybe my 4th birthday. My cousin, born the May before me, was my greatest hero, after my dad. I remember informing him that now that I had my birthday, I was the same age as him. He insisted he was still older by a half year. I said there were not half years, that I was the same number of years old as he was, and we fought and I screamed at him and cried and I remember being so upset that my dad had to come pick me up and hold me above the fray to try to comfort me and tell me that, yes, we said our ages in full numbers, but that Lee was indeed born in the summer before me and would ALWAYS be truly a half year older.
On my twenty first birthday, I lived in a house with three other girls and there were goings on that I didn't put together and several times, they needed to borrow my car and once I found a cake pan under the bed when I was looking for laundry but still did not put things together. My boyfriend took me to dinner and then wanted to 'stop by the house' that I shared with the girls and STILL I was clueless and there they were to surprise me with a party. They brought out the cake and there were looks exchanged. Finally the story came out that they had made an elaborate layer cake with frosting decorations and had stored it in the oven but then one of them had turned the oven on and ruined it, so they had to secretly repair it before the party.
On my thirtieth birthday, I was traveling for business to Columnbus, Ohio, where a favorite cousin lived and learned that her son and I shared a birthday. So on his sixth birthday and my thirtieth, I went to a party with little kids and his mom and I drank too much wine and played pin the tail on the donkey.
One year after 30 and before 40, my friend Dorothy had us all over for dinner. I had talked of a white layer cake with lemon filling and white frosting with lemon zest that my mother had made for me when I was too old for angel food with confetti baked in, so Dorothy called my mother for the recipe. Apparently having repressed my teen years, mother had no recollection of that sort of cake and poor Dorothy was embarrassed to have called and bothered her. But she looked up recipes in books and made her approximation of the lemon concoction and it was grand. But mostly, I was touched at all the effort she went to!
On my fiftieth birthday, I was in South Dakota at a nursing home with my mother trying to rally the forces and get her motivated to be more mobile so that she would eventually get out of there. A giant box arrived, which I assumed was get well flowers for her, but was actually three dozen alstromeria for my birthday! They lasted the entire 2 weeks I was there and I rearranged the last stragglers to leave for her in a smaller vase just before I left: It was one last little thing I could do for her before I left her to her caregivers.
This year, I am at the lake house with 11 Boy Scouts and 5 of their dads. We chatted and they played games until past midnight last night and this morning, got up around 6, when I had to open my gift which was a griddle so that we could make pancakes for them all for breakfast. They are ice fishing and I am making chili for their dinner. The views are lovely of the snow covered ground and the bare trees against the snowy lake and all is well at 52.