So tomorrow -- Tax Day -- our granddaughter Allissa turns six.
Can you believe? Me neither. I remember the day minute she was born.
You may be thinking: I wonder if they had a party?
Are puppy dogs irresistible? Of course we did.
Canine cuteness notwithstanding, the theme of Allissa's party was Hello Kitty.
Popular with the six-year-old set, and who's to argue? Hello Kitty is all kinds of innocently precious.
As an added bonus, it passes muster with discriminating parents who (wisely) resist reducing their children to walking Disney advertisements.
Stephanie revealed that after an early lunch on the day of the celebration, before the family embarked on the trip to the agreed-upon partying spot for supper, Allissa became very intent on primping grooming herself.
After cutting a deal with Melanie to wear a party dress that technically belongs to Melly, Allissa commandeered their bedroom for as long as it took to install herself in the frock.
(Although nearly three years apart in age, the girls can wear the same clothes.)
Mel is a stringbean crossed with a peanut. An exceedingly sweet and beautiful peanut.
Anyway: Included in the loan of said festive garment was an identical dress for Allissa's doll, who came along for the ride.
A snag was hit when Allissa became obsessed with what she would wear on her feet.
She begged her mother for permission to sport a pair of as-yet-unworn black patent leather shoes (featuring a tiny heel) which were purchased as part of her Easter outfit.
"I have to wear heels for my party," Allissa lobbied.
"No," said Stephanie. "Those are for Easter."
The birthday girl -- who, like the rest of us, is learning to pick her battles -- was alternatively and adequately shod.
Having finished dressing, the guest of honor for the upcoming shindig sequestered herself in the bathroom where she washed her face, brushed her teeth, combed her hair (which she insists on wearing down, with no accessories -- her tiara days are in the past), and painstakingly applied short-lasting kiddie cosmetics.
Little brother, who has so far embraced more of a come-as-you-are philosophy, spent that time napping.
Next came the selection of appropriate jewelry. A pink beaded necklace and bracelet completed an already-elegant ensemble.
The final touch: A Hello Kitty birthday badge with streaming ribbons.
Trust me: She looked darling. Like the priceless little girl she is. Not sixteen but six. Not a princess but a poppet.
After we'd had our dinner and before she opened her presents, Lissy gifted each party attendee with their very own bag of Hello Kitty cotton candy. She could hardly wait to bring those bright shiny bags out and make a circuit around the table, awarding them to her guests.
It was her way of giving back. I thought it was all kinds of decent. But then, I love cotton candy.
At some point after the meal and before presents, however, Lissy was sitting in her favorite place: her daddy's lap.
He is a Baptist preacher and as you know, all preachers -- especially Baptists -- brainwash their kids.
It's quite horrible. I mean, can you imagine how awful it is to hear your not-quite-yet-six-year-old granddaughter recite:
Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us. For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Actually it was a great blessing, one which brought a tear of gratitude to my eye.
Out of the mouth of babes and sucklings hast thou ordained strength because of thine enemies, that thou mightest still the enemy and the avenger.
And ... the chief priests ... said unto him, Hearest thou what these say? And Jesus saith unto them, Yea; have ye never read, OUT OF THE MOUTH OF BABES AND SUCKLINGS THOU HAST PERFECTED PRAISE?
I am grateful for moms and dads who, rather than taking their cue from Parents magazine and/or the public school system, teach their children the truth, training them to put their trust in God.
Speaking of children, and of God -- and Country -- TG and I are rejoicing because our only son, Andrew, has completed Boom Operator school and is once again living east of the Mississippi.
He and his sweetheart, Meghan, were able to join us for the party.
That's cute enough to see again.
Good times, y'all.
So good that all the way home I thought:
Hello Life! Hello Love! Hello Kitty!
And Happy Birthday, Allissa.
So why did I not post anything for you on Friday?
Because I couldn't. I just couldn't.
My TG and I were on the road all day, taking a trip. A trip that was supposed to take nine hours but which really took eleven.
And on which we did not embark until seven o'clock in the morning on Friday, when we had every intention of driving away from the domicile no later than six.
Good thing we got that hour back somewhere around Birmingham, Alabama.
Where on earth is she, you may be thinking about now.
I am in Memphis, Tennessee. For a little while longer.
No; it's not about Elvis. I have yet to see Graceland.
It's not about barbecue; we didn't eat any. It's not about ducks; we neither stayed at nor visited The Peabody.
It is about the fact that it's been my dream for a long time to visit a certain cemetery in Memphis: Elmwood.
Speaking of long times, it took an eternity to get here.
I don't know if I have ever told you this before, but I like visiting new places. I am just not particularly enamored of travel.
As in, I won't fly.
And if I were not aware that the Bible describes hell as a lake of fire and brimstone, I would describe it as a road trip.
But if I want to see things, I have no choice: I must grin and bear it.
Except, what I actually do is grimace and watch the clock a lot.
Frequent stops, coffee, snacks, and audio books help a little. To pass the time.
So here we are and the weather has been perfect and the cemetery far exceeded even my overwrought expectations.
I met a new friend. Her name is Anne and like me she is a taphophile but not at all like me, she makes fairy shoes and also vultures from okra pods. I want Veronica so do not order her.
Oh and there was Alex the rescued schnauzer-terrier mix. He says hai.
I took nearly eight hundred pictures. Only one from the car window. For all the others I got out.
We are leaving for home tomorrow. Somewhere around Birmingham we'll have to give that hour back.
But I wanted to show you a few of those pictures because I know how much you like that.
And I wanted to assure you that I did not fall on my face a single time.
That is all for now.