Birthday Wanderings…with a little help from my friends

Today was my birthday; for the past week I have been enjoying the passing of another year. Combined with a concentration of friends, family and memories, it has all made me a bit nostalgic. With my Irish ancestry this state of mind should call for a bender, but since I don’t drink, at least to that degree, I’ll share my “sober” reflections instead.

The nice thing about having a blog is it’s kind of like talking to yourself only better. You can have complete conversations, discuss important issues, and never lose an argument unless someone who disagrees with you posts a comment. You also get to ramble on about whatever is on your mind like I’m doing now…

I’ve always loved birthdays: Mine and my friends’. It’s the only day all year that’s about you…no Santa Claus, Easter bunny, candy-filled hearts or parades. It’s a celebration of one’s life; what that life has meant and who it has touched.

Sangria at PacificoThat’s why the love and fun and thoughtfulness of my family and friends these past few days has meant so much. They made me feel special, and what human being doesn’t need that?

My dear friend Charlie Versaggi took me to a fabulous al fresco lunch at one of my favorite places, Pacifico. We ate a tub of guacamole and drank, (I judiciously sipped), the best white sangria I’ve ever tasted.

And in an act of great unselfishness, Charlie then accompanied me to the strawberry festival at my childhood church, Church paintingSt. Peter’s Tohickon Church, out in the boonies of Upper Bucks County. It’s a real  beauty; almost two centuries old, built of fieldstone with rare stained glass windows.    

It was a true homecoming filled with names that were familiar connected to faces that no longer were, and so many memories that they tripped over each other rushing past my lips.

As we sat under the maple trees eating ice cream and strawberries, listening to the soothing Jim Steager playsmusic of Jim Steager, the church’s pastor, Rev. Steven Hamilton, sat beside us to talk of the area’s history, he even showed a genuine interest in all the “I walked three miles to school in the snow” stories.

One of the highlights of the afternoon was seeing Elwood Clymer. Now 93, Elwood and his family used to own the local mill, a real mill beside a creek, that ground flour and grain, where I bought feed and hay for my horse. He and his daughter, Brenda Elwood Clymer & daughterChernikovich, were in charge of the shortcake so we only reminisced for a short time, but it was so good to see him again.

As we were leaving, I paid my respects to my parents and my daughter whose final resting place is in the cemetery there.

The next day, my friends Eileen Stewart and Nancy Tulli, celebrated our mutual June birthdays by taking in the Wine & Food Festival at the Sands which was a benefit for the Northampton Community College Foundation. It was the first year for the event but I hope it won’t be the last…it was fabulous !! Many of the area’s top restaurants were there as were wine purveyors from around the world. Everything was delicious and it was very well organized.

One of the best parts of having a summer birthday is the family picnic and joint birthday party with my grandson, Connor, who was born within two days of my birthday so that we always get to celebrate together. The weather was perfect, the air filled with stories and laughter, and the cake was delicious. My wonderful husband surprised me, really surprised me, with something I’ve been wanting for a long time: A top of the line hi-def flat screen television for the bedroom, where I “nest” when I need to decompress. It has a beautiful picture with gorgeous color and I can now get all the movie channels. I’m enjoying it so much.

Now the birthday cavalcade is coming to a close; the mantel is filled with cards, my Facebook page is filled with good wishes, and my heart is filled with gratitude for all the love and friendship that this birthday has brought me. I am truly blessed.