Upon waking today, I decided I could either feel melancholy about turning another year older (yes, today is my birthday) or I could be thankful for all the years I've lived and the new day with which I'd been blessed. I decided on the latter.
It truly is a beautiful day here in my southwestern Ohio town. The sun is shining, the temperature is cooler, and I've had quite a few phone calls and good wishes for the day. My daughter and grandkids sang happy birthday to me over the phone, as did my sister. I had a call from my forever friend, Deanna, and from my mother, both wishing me a happy birthday. I received some sweet e-cards from Spouse and Daughter - they actually each sent the same card, one with a cute kitty on it. I just love getting e-cards! Spouse plans to take me out to dinner when he arrives home from work and that will be nice. Birthday calls make me happy and I appreciate my family and friends more than I can express.
To my great surprise, the UPS driver stopped in front of my house and left two packages this morning. I hadn't been expecting anything, but when I saw the return address, I knew they were from my angel cousin, Jeanette. She is entirely too good to me. She sent a decadent-looking chocolate devil's food cheesecake. Wait until Spouse sees that! There was also a tin full of Rugelach - bite-size cinnamon raisin pastries. They are delicious! Thank you Jeanette!!!
The mail carrier left a package this morning too and I tore into it quickly when I saw it was from Deanna. She sent a sweet card and a book we'd been discussing. Inside the book was a note indicating she'd given me a subscription to Mary Jane's Farm Journal. That's one of my most favorite magazines and I love it! Thanks Deanna!!!
I'm having a very nice day, but I'm also thinking back to my childhood birthdays. Oh how exciting those were! The anticipation was overwhelming. Mom always asked what I wanted for dinner and what kind of cake she should bake. Bakery or store-bought cakes were not an option. My favorite birthday meal was always fried chicken, mashed potatoes, and corn and the cake I always requested was devil's food chocolate cake with white frosting. There were always birthday candles and sometimes balloons. Dad would go get Grandma and my family would gather around the kitchen table for dinner. Afterward, everybody sang Happy Birthday and I made a wish and blew out the candles on my cake.
I could hardly wait until it was time to open presents. The gifts we kids received were almost always needful things - a new purse, tennis shoes, a white satin slip, and other such things, but that was just fine with us. I think the real joy was in seeing presents wrapped and waiting for us. Childhood birthdays were always fun and the gifts given were heartfelt. Grandma always gave a card in which one crisp dollar bill was enclosed. It didn't matter how old we became. We always received a card with a dollar tucked into it. My brother and I continued that tradition with each other long after Grandma was gone. We sent dollars in each others' cards until the year he died. He used to say his birthday wouldn't be complete if he didn't find a dollar in his card.
Today I'm feeling very thankful for all that I've been given - my family and extended family, my friends and cyber friends. I'm thankful that even with the subtle aches and pains I've begun to experience as I grow older, I can still go where I want and do pretty much as I desire. My memory and my eyesight aren't what they used to be, but they're better than they're one day going to be, so I'll take what I've been given and try to do the best I can.
Today I'm also thinking of my friend and neighbor, Dan, for whom I asked you to pray. He is now home and recovering nicely. He's a miracle man. He walked into church on Sunday and we shed tears of joy at his return. I'm making his family some cheddar potato soup, layered salad, and chocolate chip cookies today. I'll take them to his house in time for him and his wife to have them for supper. I can't think of a better way to spend a birthday than to be doing a little bit of something for someone else. It truly is a beautiful day in the neighborhood.
KADY’S CHEDDAR POTATO SOUP
6-8 medium potatoes – cooked, peeled, and diced
1 can fat-free Carnation evaporated milk
3 cups skim milk
1 8-oz. package shredded cheddar cheese
1/4 cup finely chopped onion
1 Tbsp, spinach flakes or parsley flakes
1 tsp. Salt Sense (or salt)
1/2 tsp. ground black pepper
1/2 cup shredded or grated Pepper Jack cheese
1 package John Morel diced ham – rinsed under hot water
Place diced potatoes in large cooking pan or Dutch oven. Add all other ingredients and cook over low heat, stirring constantly until cheese is melted and onions are tender. Add more milk if soup is too thick. Re-heat as needed.