Even though I lived it over half a century ago, I remember many things about my childhood quite vividly. When it comes to the goings-on associated with specific birthdays, however, I remember very little, and there are no pictures to nudge my memory.
I have clear recollections of only my sixth and tenth birthdays. Mom threw a surprise party for my sixth birthday, and that was also the year I got to appear with Happy the Clown on "Birthday Party," a half-hour program broadcast from the TV station in our small town.
Specifically, I remember winning the game of musical chairs on that program and, secretly, lamenting that the grand prize--a large jar of peanut butter--fell a little short of the something more glamorous I had envisioned. But I got over it--and the peanut butter, I'm sure, glued together many pairs of square Krispy saltine crackers that summer.
I begged a long time to have a party for my tenth birthday, and Mom finally caved. At that one, I remember all my friends gathering around our dining room table while I opened presents--although the only present I can actually name is a Nancy Drew mystery book titled The Whispering Statue.
So, Bootsie, chances are, you may not recall much about the great time we all had at your house nearly three weeks ago on the day you turned four. That is why I want you to be able to come here to Googie's Attic years from now and see a little about what went on then.
First, you asked for a "lemon cake with pink icing," and your mama gladly complied. That day, Pa-pa and I picked up your cousin Beenie and made the three-hour drive to your house to watch you blow out your candles and share some "pink lemonade" yumminess. Here is what it looked like:
This dessert capped off a great menu, also chosen by you, of turkey, dressing, and sweet potatoes--a little preview of Thanksgiving that your daddy cooked up for us.
The unveiling of the presents came soon afterward, and you hit the jackpot this year. Pa-pa and I brought you a couple shirts, a Buttercup (a horse from Toy Story) flashlight, and a Lamb Chop puppet. Your great-grandma sent along a puzzle.
Mama put together the cutest assortment of playthings based on a Little Red Riding Hood theme. Along with a basket and the storybook, you got a reversible doll that could be the wolf, the grandma, or Red Riding Hood herself. The best part was this bright red cape that was just your size:
Another big hit was the Little Mermaid guitar that Beenie brought for you. While you spent a lot of time that night tripping your way through the woods to Grandma's, the rest of us pretty well fought each other for a turn at the guitar, which you are demonstrating here:
Sooby, Mama, and I even burst into a spontaneous rendition of "Dooley," a bluegrass song from the old Andy Griffith Show. Pooh caught us on video with my iPhone, but with any luck that particular performance may be lost over the years.
It was definitely a night and a party to remember, and it makes me sad to realize that as the years roll by, your own memory of this fourth birthday will likely grow dim. By the time you get to be my age, many years from now, you may not remember it at all.
So you will just have to look at these pictures, read this story, and trust me when I say that your fourth birthday was a wonderful time for our family. You were the queen of the evening, and it is an immeasurable blessing to see you happy and excited and thriving in your four-year-old element.
Happy Birthday, sweet girl. Your pink lemonade birthday will be a hard one to top.