While I was celebrating my birthday at a beach front restaurant this past week, three people at a nearby table were having an interesting discussion about birthday gifts. The female of the group said that she would never want to get an appliance (unless she had specifically asked for it) for her birthday. Her philosophy was if she and her husband needed a washing machine, the household budget should provide it rather than being given as a gift. Overhearing this story, it reminded me of the time one of my hairdresser’s clients was certain she was getting a diamond for her birthday. She got a vacuum sweeper!

Birthday celebrations—the tradition varies from family to family. My family’s tradition when I was growing up was to have ice cream and cake. My mother baked my favorite white cake and decorated it with hard sugar decorations that were bought at the local five-and-ten store. Family members with summer birthdays usually were treated to homemade hand-cranked freezer ice cream. For my January birthday, I enjoyed store bought Neapolitan ice cream and was partial to the chocolate part. A picture was snapped when I blew out the candles that were inserted in cute little plastic holders. My maternal and paternal grandparents joined us.  Cards with money were given along with wrapped gifts. Miniature plastic baskets were filled with nuts and mints. In fact, I have a collection of these vintage pastel baskets and candle holders—pink, blue and yellow. My sister and I fight over them when we spot then at flea markets!

Although I am too far away to celebrate my birthday with my immediate family, I still look forward to receiving cards and gifts from them. I collect the cards as they arrive in the mail. On my birthday morning, I delight in opening each one and reading the sentiment.  Several cat cards usually find their way to me. Surprise, surprise! And checks still fall out of some of them!

This year I made a toast to my parents as I sat at the high top table built with a Royal Palm growing up the middle. My mother would have loved the restaurant setting as that is her favorite Florida palm. The ocean was as blue as it could be, and it was a glorious day. Perhaps just like the day I was born—except lots warmer than Keokuk, Iowa in January! Thank you mother, thank you daddy.  Thanks to my ancestors who came before me. Because of all of you, I am here today and I am eternally grateful for the best gift of all—the gift of life.

Bountiful Blessings!

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