Saturday, September 5, 2009

Birthday Boy

You say it’s your birthday.
It’s my birthday, too, yeah.

(The Beatles)

Mike shares his birthday date with, among others, Michael Jackson. They do not have much in common and did not sing to each other last week.

We had a birthday party last Saturday (8/29) at our lake cottage on Winona Lake. As I had posted an invitation on the blog and as our at home friends are only about an hour away, we had no idea who or how many would show up. This sort of thing makes the hub nervous.

Actually, just as there have been other revelations during this adventure, I realized at least one reason why we don’t ‘do’ a lot of parties. It has a connection with why we don’t travel that much.
We have different styles. With travel, if I have about $200 in cash (American is just fine) and a good credit card, I would be ok with landing anywhere that they speak English, and having an adventure. When I was in London, yes, I saw the sights. I also rode the TUBE during evening rush hour and shopped in a grocery store on Saturday. I wanted to people-watch real people.

Mike prefers to know the exact itinerary, minute-by-minute; ok, he’s not that anal….hour-by-hour. He wants reservation numbers, phone numbers, addresses, etc. etc. etc. He feels uncomfortable if we are not on schedule.

As for entertaining, whenever we DO venture into this endeavor, Mike will always (ALWAYS) ask, “What are we going to DO with the guests?” He would be more comfortable with an agenda: Arrive 7 PM. Move into dining room 7:15 PM. Eat and leave…..

Ok, and my style is a big more, shall we say, organic. Let the party become what it will. Food, friends, an event. Really, what more do you need?

And I know that my method is NOT shared by other, more successful hostesses. My neighbor, a gifted entertainer/decorator, asked me, “And what is your theme?”

Uh. Mike’s birthday.

“And what is your color scheme?”

Uh. Uh. Birthday colors.

She was going to loan me all sorts of stuff to help and I’m betting she has a color-coded pile of decorations and serving dishes. This was not her kind of party.

But it was MY kind of party. My feeble decorations, besides a really big cake, included a HAPPY BIRTHDAY banner, balloons, and some noisemakers that, alas, did not make noise.

Who came? Well, first there were our lake friends, including Dean, Sandy, John, Connie, Bruce, Jenny, Hal, Randy, Peggy, Joclyn, and family. My mom, Evelyn, flew in for the weekend, mainly to celebrate this special day. My mom is like that. Then, several friends from Kokomo like Jessica and Jeff and Dr. Susan, several from far away, and I think a few random people who saw the lights and dropped by.

It turned out that my colors were Red and Blue (can’t get away from it) as The Cake Lady, with no guidance from me, made a red velvet cake (major YUM) and accented the frosting with red. Our table cloth was blue. So.

Guests brought goodies so we loaded up the table. We had another cake, some cookies, some fruit and veggies, chips and salsa, some cokes, some beer, some wine coolers and coffee.

After Mike blew out his candles, he opened his few gifts. His biggest smile was for the electronic frame from his wife. Also, my card got a big laugh. It has Doctor Evil on the front and he’s saying something about $1 million. I tried to explain it to people who has not seen the movie and decided it’s an inside joke.

So what did we do with our guests? Nothing. They made the party their own. They migrated to four different areas, visiting and getting to know new people. Then, every 15 minutes or so, everybody seemed to migrate to a new area. The house shook with laughter.

The crowd dwindled about 10 and I excused myself, really dragging. I told the hub that I would clean up in the morning. When I got up on Sunday, wouldn’t you just know that it was all shiny and clean, everything put away or thrown out. What a guy!

The banner was still arched across a doorway. “Put it away, in the drawer, for next year,“ my mom said. “I will look forward to hanging it up again.”

Love you, MOM.
Reflecting, it was a grand party. Those who love my husband gathered to celebrate his birthday. And Zach gave me the best remembrance.

He said, “I never saw my dad laugh so much. I got to hear him tell my favorite story of his and he was laughing so hard, he was crying.”

That story, by the way, is posted here on the blog. It is not MY favorite story. Son tells me that Mike’s delivery adds a lot. I hope so. For all of you who wished Mike a happy birthday, thanks. He had one for the record books.


  1. Sounds perfect to me, Lynne! It's not about how you decorate or what you serve. A great hostess knows her guests!

  2. Happy belated B-day to your fella! I've been away from blogs for awhile but wanted to drop in and say I totally understand your point on different styles. My wife and I are kind of the reverse to you guys. I'm all about having a loose outline and going from there and she's Clark Griswold from Vacation with that itinerary. I used to host bbq's back in St. Louis when I had the house and the only "theme" I had was "free bbq as of 2 p.m., eat it while it lasts" then people would come and go in waves and every group would stay long enough to have a good time! :)