Birthday Wrap-up

Sister Chris and Steve staged the final celebration of John’s 78th birthday. What a delight it was! We met in South Carolina, about halfway between our towns, and feasted on Italian food at Olive Garden. The wait staff let us stay as long as we had breath and the will to talk. Chris took a photo of us from across the table.

We dispensed with aging illnesses quickly, caught up on church news, and went to the fun stuff. We talked about cruising, driving to New York, and family anecdotes. I enjoyed listening to Chris and John compare their special times spent with their doctor dad. Occasionally when Dr. M. went on house calls, he would take one child with him. Chris remembers always having her library book to read while he saw a patient. John’s treat was stopping by a freight yard on the way home to watch the steam engine rearranging cars. Steve doesn’t volunteer much, but he will respond if asked a direct question. I asked if he and his dad did anything special together.

Steve told the story of his invitation to be on the board of directors of a national religious organization. He told the members of the board, “I’m surprised you asked me to serve, after all the nights I’ve spent in jail.”

He made it more graphic for us. He said you get an odd feeling when the gate clangs shut at night and you hear the key turning in the lock.

For 23 years I worked for Steve in the accounting firm, and he was the fairest employer I’d ever known. I admired him for many things, especially the way he lived his faith. His standing in the community was very high. Jail???

The background is this. Steve’s uncle was the sheriff of a distant town, and occasionally his dad took him to see those relatives. They lived in small quarters in the jail. Everyone visited during the day, and Steve and his dad spent the night in a jail cell – plenty of space with no cost to them or the town. It certainly made a good story the way Steve strung it out.

Because Chris and Steve gave John a birthday balloon, the waitress brought him a free dessert. Nice! Now we are enjoying that balloon marking John’s seat in our house. The added bonus is that the fellows will put pressure on me to dispose of our Fourth of July balloon. I won’t fight them on it.

33 thoughts on “Birthday Wrap-up

  1. Reminds me of a former job where I worked with women in prison. When I went to see them, I’d get locked in with them. Of course, when I was ready to leave, all I had to do was let them know and they’d let me out. Still, like Steve mentioned, it was a strange feeling when gates clanged shut.

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  2. I like how they presented that dessert on the big plate – how fun! I never knew the Olive Gardens did that and we used to go for our birthdays after Bill Knapp’s closed. (If you don’t have Bill Knapps in your state … the lure was they gave you a free cake on your birthday and your age off as a percentage of the bill. Everyone went to Bill Knapps, young and old, and then new management took over and said the menu was “fuddy-duddyish” and they needed TVs around the restaurant and that was the end of Bill Knapp’s as they went bankrupt, but you can still buy their white or chocolate cakes.)

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      1. Yes, it is too bad. They were like Stuckeys in that they all looked alike. Painted white with green awnings, but it was their specials and their cake and always friendly waitstaff. I just Googled and they went out of business suddenly 12 years ago – shuttered all the businesses in Michigan, Ohio and Indiana the same day. I thought they were nationwide. It looks like they are going to have some online ordering but no more restaurants.

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  3. I love that after knowing people a long time they can still surprise us with a story, as Steve did with the jail anecdote. My granddaughter’s favorite restaurant is Olive Garden and she always chooses it when given the chance.

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