Although yesterday was Dad's actual birthday, we celebrated it with him today instead because yesterday we all attended my first-cousin-once-removed's wedding and reception in Bowbells, ND (remember?). This morning Beverly made us a big breakfast, and then we went with them to her church in Tioga. The last time that we attended there, the pastor and church musicians and Beverly all asked us to sing for church the next time we were there; so this weekend we came prepared to do so. We provided "special music": I played piano while Susan and the girls sang "Come to Jesus," a song that we performed together most recently for Susan's grandma's funeral. Then it was back to Dad and Beverly's for dinner before "birthday company" arrived.
Dinner was supposed to be tomato soup, for which Beverly thought we should have crackers. I volunteered to go to the grocery store to pick some up, and Suzanna went with me. We found some crackers and then decided that we should get three different kinds. Then we decided that meat and cheese would go well on the crackers, so we selected two kinds of cheese and a roll of summer sausage. Then we decided that we should have some fruit and vegetables, so we got two kinds of grapes, some carrot chips, and some ranch veggie dip. When we got back with our haul, Susan told Beverly, "See? I told you he'd bring us more than just crackers." It all went very nicely with the soup, thank you very much.
Birthday company arrived early in the afternoon and stayed through supper. In fact, we were the first ones to leave, needing to get back tonight so that the girls would have a good night's sleep before school in the morning. We had a great time visiting with the guests today, and I especially enjoyed hearing tales from Dad and his sisters of their childhood: chores, troublesome siblings (my aunts and uncles), strict parents (my grandparents), school tales, etc. Most of all, today took me back to my own childhood when it was the norm around someone's birthday or anniversary for all the in-state aunts, uncles, and cousins to drop by with a birthday cake or baked goods to visit and eat in celebration. I loved it back then, and I loved it again today!
Dad is in blue in the center, and my stepmom Beverly is in pink to his right. The birthday company included Dad's sister Penny (in white on the left), their sister Rose and her husband Elton (both to Dad's left), and Beverly's son Dennis and his wife Julie (on the right of the photo). Rose and Elton live in CO but came to ND for yesterday's wedding and for the Norsk Høstfest, held this past week in Minot. My uncle Shine and his wife Janet arrived just as we were leaving, so they didn't get into this photo.
Here is Dad with his granddaughters Hillary, Abigail, and Suzanna. We brought a birthday cake for Dad; Susan tried two new recipes, one for a decadent chocolate cake that was dense and moist, the other for a fluffy white frosting that was buttery and sweet. That's the cake in front of Hillary. When I carried in the cake yesterday, I saw that Beverly was frosting the angel food cake that's in front of Suzanna in the photo . . . and there was a third cake already frosted on the kitchen counter! There wasn't enough company today to consume three cakes, so Beverly served just these two.
My aunts wanted a photo of my family, so Abigail decided on this arrangement. How'd she do?
It's great to live so close to home that we can make quick weekend trips to see Dad and Beverly and participate in family events. Thank you, Extended Family, for a great day; and happy birthday, Dad!