Many happy returns
Two of my five sons, Donald and Dean, called during the day of my birthday. They’re retired and assumed I’d be at home and going out during the evening hours. Sons David and Dan called after dinner, believing my son Doug and I would be home after going out for a big dinner.
When asked what I wanted for my birthday, I replied, “To have my favorite meal at noon, and watch my favorite evening television shows.” That’s just how it went, almost. My favorite meal is raw oysters in the shell with oyster crackers and a frosted mug of cold beer, which would mean a trip to Baltimore. So I settled for my second most favorite meal, a trip to Fernley to my favorite Japanese restaurant.
There, waiting for me, was an assortment of vegetables, mixed with delicious shrimp tempura, a nice mound of white rice and a special raw salad consisting of two kinds of cabbage, carrots and some special green, dressed with a sweetish vinegar dressing. I looked at that platter and groaned. I don’t care how many times I’ve ordered this meal, the food never disappoints. Of course, that large warm Saki accompanying the meal didn’t hurt either.
Doug’s doctor’s appointment went longer than usual, and I waited impatiently until he was finished, anxious to get to my restaurant. Once at the shopping center, I headed in one direction to indulge in lunch, Doug went next door, where he enjoyed his favorite hot fudge sundae, while sharing conversation and coffee with the owner Steve. Meanwhile, I relished my time eating with chopsticks and sipping Saki.
The rest of my birthday was spent talking to everybody who called and watching a few television shows. Then I began thinking about some of the other birthdays I remember over the last oh so many years, especially one when my late husband Van was with me in the early 1970s.
We lived close to Stagecoach. We had a precious little slice of Nevada land and a small mobile home. While I was at work, Van had that particular day off. I remember coming down over that last hill from Carson City looking to the left and seeing a huge white sheet hanging from the side of our mobile home. In large letters was printed the message with his nickname for me, Happy Birthday, Ed!
Van wasn’t alone in the yard. Most of our neighbors were also there and they’d prepared a special barbecue dinner with all of the fixings, and a nice birthday cake for desert. We had a really nice evening, one I will always remember and cherish.
I also cherish the birthday when I turned 12. My godmother Mabel gave me two beautiful dresses, one pink, the other blue. Give any little girl a couple of new dresses, and she is going to be in a very good mood. I’ll never forget that day or her kindness.
Everyone at one time or another has a birthday worth forgetting. Mine came when I was about 7 and had come down with some kind of flu. Everybody got to eat my fresh birthday cake. Mother saved a piece for me to eat a couple of days later. It was a little stale, but I didn’t mind.
Then there was my 16th birthday when I was dating more than one boy friend. One named Joe took me out with another couple during the day for a movie and a soda. The boys dropped Betty off on our way to my house. All the way from her home to mine the boys kept talking about how nice Betty had looked, what a pretty outfit she was wearing and how beautiful she was. I felt like a frump, sitting there in a nice navy blue dress, knowing I looked just as nice as Betty. Those two made me feel just awful. Once I got into my living room I cried like a baby. But then, the next day I had a date with Don Hill, the boy I would marry three years later. Up to the front door he came, carrying 16 long-stemmed roses. I wasn’t crying anymore.
Things seem to work out as they should. I now have 5 wonderful sons, who all took the time to send cards, to call me, and to tell me how important and special I am.
My 89th birthday was special. Now I can really look forward to my 90th.
Edna Van Leuven is a Churchill County writer.