The gathering for my brother’s birthday immediately turned into a family reunion. Bob’s local daughter Julie was the first to come after we got there, and daughter Susan arrived with Sam and Kate after rush hour. We wanted to know if Sam, with a brand new learner’s permit, had been in the driver’s seat for the two hour drive. No, all agreed that going on an interstate in darkness and heavy rain would not be a good start for the weekend. Sam had been up a long time, too. He catches the school bus at 6:15 every morning. *Shudder*
After a brief catch-up period of conversation, we got down to the business of telling family stories. As usual, the person on whom many of the tales were based, was my dad. He was a real character who could never be contained by one blog post.
My favorite of the evening was Beth’s quote of a local man describing a severe storm that hit their small South Carolina town near Florence years ago. The man said, “Trees blowed down that ain’t never been blowed down before.”
Let me tell you, it is dangerous to miss a meal at a reunion. I shall refer to the absent one as s/he. The s/he in question went shoe shopping with a daughter. It was back in the days when clerks were paid to bring shoes to you from the back room. The daughter removed her shoes in readiness, but s/he did not. Only when the salesperson brought boxes out did s/he take off his/her shoes. S/he requested a different size, put his/her own shoe back on and only took it off again when the clerk returned. The daughter asked aloud, “What is wrong with you? Normal people keep their shoes off!”
That story was bad enough, but more was revealed over sausage and eggs. The spouse said, “You think that is crazy. You ought to see him/her get out of the shower. S/he dries off in the shower, balances on one foot, and reaches out with his/her toes to position the slipper and get it on. More balance is required to get the other slipper.”
The reason was revealed in both cases. The spouse quoted his/her explanation, “I don’t like my feet to touch the floor.”
I thought the birthday meal was as tasty as it was unusual. We had Hamburger Vegetable Soup and White Chicken Chili. The weather cooperated by being chilly, so these hearty dishes fit the day perfectly. I believe Sam made the cornbread muffins. Beth baked a delicious spice cake with caramel icing, both being Bob’s favorites.
Adults continued chatting as the young people went on the deck to shoot Bob’s BB gun. Beth took a turn, too. I’m thinking I should have tried it so that I could no longer say, “I’ve never shot a gun in my life.”
The birthday balloon was parked sedately in the living room until after dinner. The
young set played with it boisterously, even taking it outside. Max clipped it to Sam’s shirt at one point. The three also passed it back and forth from the top of the stairs down to the living room. Beth wrote later that when they came home from the symphony concert, they found the balloon drifting around in the breakfast room. Thank heavens it didn’t rise to the top of the cathedral ceiling. That happened once before, and the movement set off the alarm system.
You may have noticed that there is no direct quote from Bob here. My bro has never been loquacious and didn’t change his normal mode for the day. He did thank us and tell us we made his day. I believe him.