The “early service” was a quiet and peaceful affair, today. A soft glow in the sky heralded the new day. The glow deepened and the night slipped away . The mockingbird did not sing and the pine trees did not whisper. Suddenly, it was Sunday-and not just any Sunday. Today is Mamas’ birthday.
The week has been full of secrets and hushed conversations. We have been plotting and concocting all sorts of plans. Yesterday, I was in my kitchen cooking potato salad and collards. Delores was making chicken and Jenny was buying flowers. Brant and Tres were driving home, from Wilmington. Kyle was grocery shopping for the inevitable, last minute items. No one was spared some sort of duty. While I peeled potatoes, I thought how, though we were all separately busy on a wide range of tasks, it felt like we were moving as a unit-and bound together tightly. Mama thinks she knows all the details, but she has no clue, that circumstances changed, and now allow Will, Jenny and Lyla to attend. My first cousins, Chuck and Chris are coming too. Chuck and Chris are more like brothers to me, than cousins. We all grew up on the little farm together. Chris has a scar to prove it-made by a pitchfork, when I turned the tractor too sharply, causing the trailer I was pulling to topple sideways. The children spilled out and a pitchfork landed in Chris’ leg. He held a grudge for a few days over that, as he wanted to drive the tractor, anyway. He is liable to bring it all up again, today.
I have a small dilemma to solve. I have to transport the birthday cake -and without a proper dish to do so. In all my decluttering, I must have donated mine to some worthy charity. I am left with several pretty pedestal stands, which I have a weakness for, but they are not suitable for transporting a birthday cake. I fear Christian will need to make the ride with steady hands and praying the whole way.
The Birthday Party
I warmed the collards, iced the cake, and made fifty cheeses biscuits before noon. The car was loaded full with food, presents, instruments and that fragile cake platter, when we left the rabbit patch. As it turned out, Christian drove and I held the cake . . . and prayed the whole way. It worked, because we made it, with the cake intact.
The weather was perfect for eating outside and several of us did. Lyla was especially happy to be at a birthday party, as she loves cake. She handed Mama presents and was quite good natured about it. My sister Delores, brought a puzzle for Lyla. Lyla opened the box and her face reminded me of the day we put avocados in her brownie batter-she seemed to be just as horribly shocked . She declared the puzzle was broken! We all laughed about that. She also made us laugh, when she needed to use the phone, to call “Peter Rabbit”, who she said was “caught, once again, in a gooseberry net” .
Christian and I played music, while Lyla played a single note on the piano, with us. Later, my cousins and I recalled when we were young and wild children. They all agreed that I was never blamed for the many mischievous deeds we all committed. They had shared memories to prove it. I was a bit shocked, but really I could not remember “being in trouble” and as they talked, I began to think it was true, as they said. However, I reminded them that I never raced with tractors, as they did, through corn fields.
The good news, is that somehow, we all grew up and share some beautiful memories that bind us together, to this day. It was pretty late in the day when everyone left,with plans to get together in March, for Daddys’ birthday.
Mama was happy, and that meant everything. She is a lot of things-a mother and wife, an aunt and “Nana” to her grandchildren and to her one great grandchild. She has cooked a fair share of birthday cakes for all of us, over the years and it felt good to see her honored, on her day. “Her children rise up and call her blessed” certainly, rang true today.