90th Birthday Wanderlust, Day 8 and 9: The Birthday Party
The next two days will be almost entirely family blogging rather than the usual geoblogging. Don’t hesite to skip ahead if that’s not to your taste.
We are up and eat breakfast. Mom has a caregiver service that send someone over every morning and night to assist with meals and pills. I find almost everyone they send is very good, friendly, capable, and considerate. The caregiver this morning joins us for breakfast (I cook my own) and then I dig out the Dictaphone and start recording some of Mom’s stories. Kira is going to transcribe these for the family.
Mom has some old photographs I decide to photograph. (Metaphotography?)
Mom and Dad a few months after their marriage.
Mom was a looker, wasn’t she? And Dad still had some hair then. Look at how big his head was. He was one of the smartest men I’ve ever known. His favorite thing after work was to settle into the easy chair, pop a can of diet soda, and start working through a stack of Analogue Science Fiction and Fact. Supplemented with an occasional Science News.
The camera flash is a problem. The room is too dim to photograph without it. I’m going to have to have a professional duplicate these images for the family.
My grandfather, grandmother, and oldest aunt, Flora. I find it somewhat sobering to realize my grandfather would be 132 if he was alive today.
Glenn, Earl, and John.
Anne and Mom and Marilyn. The first five children are fairly regularly spaced about three years apart in age. Mom was born five years after Ann, and Marilyn just a year after Mom. Grandma apparently loved to dress them up as if they were twins. I kind of get the sense Mom and Marilyn were the apples of Grandma’s eye.
And now, some geology
There is going to be a long day of partying, so I take a quick walk to make sure I get in some exercise today. I head east, towards the Wasatch mountain front, and encounter two ancient shorelines, here
The first is possibly the Provo shoreline and the second the Bonneville shoreline, but both are a bit ill-defined in this area. These shorelines are former shores of Lake Bonneville, the freshwater predecessor of the Great Salt Lake, which filled a vast basin thousands of years ago. Each shoreline marks a different high stand of the lake.
Back to Mom. Someone has put “90” balloons outside her condo.
I find that friends are visiting.
Also, that in the hour I was out walking, Mom got sick to her stomach. That is very rare for her. I attribute it to nerves — she’s very excited about the big party. You only turn 90 once. (Actually, most of us won’t even do it once.)
We’ve rented the club house at her condominium for the party.
Scott’s oldest, Jeff, and his wife, Kelsey, sitting at left. Scott’s youngest son, Timothy, is wearing glasses. Behind is Lori’s husband Robert, their daughter Lisa and her husband, Hayden (standing), and another of their daughters, Julie, and her husband, Matt (both sitting) surrounded by their kids.
The rest of Scott’s family, and some of Susan’s family.
Things begin to slowly organize.
Scott, Robert, and Lowell (Susan’s husband) and I jointly give Mom a blessing. This is a Latter-day Saint Christian practice for comforting the sick and appealing for divine healing. (It does not replace competent scientific medicine.) She is comforted and is already starting to feel better.
The food arrives, catered by Olive Garden.
I decide that, for today, I’m going to forget I’m diabetic. The food is wonderful.
We wheel Mom over, who is feeling better but still quite weak. We have bought her a floral arrangement.
which she likes very much.
The tables are all set with quotations from Mom on her favorite movie, food, music, etc. There is also a flyer recalling important events and cultural milestones in 1931. We read all these, and then the grandkids and their spouses sing for Mom.
It’s a wonderful party and goes on for many hours.
The next morning, we watch a broadcast of a church service (COVID is still preventing Mom from attending in person) and then she astonishes me: She sits down at her piano and plays her favorite hymn, from memory, almost flawlessly. (She has to play from memory because she is functionally blind.) I find that her mind is still sharp. Curiously, though, her prayers sound a lot like a small child’s. But then “Except ye become as a little child, ye cannot enter into the kingdom of Heaven.”
In the afternoon, the families come by one by one to sing Happy BIrthday to Mom. We gather again at the clubhouse for leftovers and final conversations before breaking up and returning to our homes.
It has been a wonderful party and reunion.