The back forty
Tuesday, June 18, 2019 at 08:44PM

Our momentous birthday/anniversary/Father's Day weekend has passed into history.

It has officially been forty years since TG and I tied the knot.

I mean, seriously. Forty years since that Georgia June day? I can't even.

But here we are, so let's have a show-and-tell post. I would not have you left out of the festivities.

First -- on Friday -- it was Dagny's fifth birthday. Yes; our baby shares a birthday with President Trump.


Five singles adorned the inside of a card from a precious elderly lady at our church.

But Dagny loved all of her cards -- even if they did not contain cash. Because naturally, even cashless, they accompanied a present.

For example, this Baby Alive from Andrew and Brittany.

Big hit.

As were any and all greeting cards that featured dogs.

As well as cards that do NOT feature dogs. This one was from TG and me, and was not stuffed with cash, and still elicited this reaction:

(On her birthday, Dagny gives a new meaning to the term "off the chain.")

Her new bicycle (from her mother) was technically not a surprise, but she was still excited to see it with two pink bows attached.

It's a big deal when you graduate from a scooter to a real bike with training wheels.

Everybody went outside to watch her take it for a spin.

Even with Uncle Andrew and Allissa as her wingmen, Dag still managed to fall and scrape her nose.

I remarked to Chad, standing next to me on the balcony, watching the scene unfold: Into every life a little rain must fall. He agreed and we laughed.

Poor Dagny! But then Mama kissed it better and the tears stopped.

Next up? Cake!

The plastic candelabra I got for a dollar fifty at Walmart held the candles at odd angles.

We just went with it.

They didn't have to be up there for long so it didn't matter.

Baby Alive kept a sharp eye on all of the proceedings.

I know; right? Creepy.

Then it was time to tuck in to that cake -- which Audrey had gotten for free from the Publix bakery, because when she went to pick up the cake she'd special ordered, no one could find it.

They hadn't made Dagny's cake at all. Audrey simply stood there and looked at the manager, who pretty quickly led her to the cake case and urged her to pick out a complimentary confection.

With their apologies.

No apologies were needed the next day, when we all trooped over to Andrew and Brittany's for our anniversary party.

I'd worked for days assembling props for our celebration.

In addition to taking my wedding dress along and hanging it in a window, I had dozens of framed photos and hundreds of photos in albums, for the kids to look at.

Forty years of memories crammed into frames and books. They loved it.

Since it was Father's Day weekend, lots of the pictures featured the children with their dad -- either individually or as a group.

There were flowers. Lots of pretty flowers.

We'd ordered forty red roses from Globalrose, and they sent fifty. So we had some extras.

That was fun. Next to a vaseful of the extra roses I sat one of our wedding invitations, framed.

Meanwhile, in his outdoor kitchen Andrew was grilling inch-and-a-half-thick bacon-wrapped filet mignons from the meat market. I'd let them bask overnight in a marinade of minced garlic and soy sauce.

Andrew had started the steaks in Brittany's oven before carrying them to the grill to finish. They were fork-tender in no time.

Along with the filets (there were burgers and hot dogs for the children) we had baked potatoes, a many-item salad bar, and deviled eggs. For dessert there was cheesecake with fresh strawberries and whipped cream. And sprinkles.

(Where our Brittany is, there are always sprinkles for dessert.)

Everybody was there -- even Joel, who as a pastor is normally pretty busy on Saturdays, preparing for Sunday sevices. He headed home in the late afternoon, taking Little Andrew with him so he'd have a kid of his own on Father's Day.

It was an honor to have all of my children and grandchildren with us for the party.

Even that adorable grandbaby (it's a girl!) due to be born in December.

For the grandkids already among us, I'd bought giant bubble wands.

Speaking of  Little Andrew, he and Melanie were busy trying to beat one another at corn hole.

That was before Little Andrew decided it was time to suit up and make use of the swimming pool until time for dinner.

Rambo was free to roam the grounds and made the most of it. Maverick is too rowdy to be among so many people, so he was in his kennel for much of the day.

Rambo likes being the only dog around. And he likes to take it real easy on warm days.

After supper and before Joel and Little Andrew left for home, I gave the kids a test.

It consisted of twenty-five questions about their dad's and my romance, engagement, and wedding.

There were prizes of giant chocolate bars (fourth place got sugarless gum).

Stephanie/Joel and Erica/Chad tied for first place; Audrey came in third and Andrew/Brittany fourth.

It's all good. I am always amazed at how competitive my children are.

But they all did really well. It was fascinating to see which ones they missed, because I've been yammering about all of this stuff for their entire lives. Now I know who was pretending to listen and who was really listening.

Later, we all lolled in the pool and when it got dark, we sat around a blaze in Andrew's fire pit and ate roasted marshmallows. Some had s'mores. No one wanted to see the evening end.

On Sunday, our men were treated to breakfast at church while the ladies had Sunday School together.

During church, our pastor recognized TG and me. Our roses were on display in front. There was applause and there were many kind congratulations from our friends.

My dress had a Paris theme, an homage to my wedding gown which came from Paris, a creation of the French design house of the late Jacques Heim.

I also wore the same perfume as on my wedding day: Shalimar by Guerlain. But alas, unlike on my wedding day, I did not carry gardenias. They're too hard to find and once found, too much to pay for. 

At any rate, by then it was time to celebrate Father's Day.

With what steam we had left, we all set out for Cracker Barrel. It's just so easy to do. 

I had a gift for Andrew, who is celebrating his first Father's Day as a dad.

I don't go for this father-to-be stuff. You're either a father (or a mother) or you're not. And he is. To that as-yet-unborn little girl.

Our girls, together with their brother, gave their dad a new pair of golf shoes.

It was all he wanted -- if you don't count their love and respect, which he always has.

Speaking of wanted ... to mark this occasion, I wanted (and asked for, and got) a nine-stone diamond anniversary band. Inside, it's inscribed GJ Forty Forever.

TG let me pick it out. I love it. I've actually had it for several weeks. When we got engaged, I had to wait two months for my ring (it was basketball season). So I got this ring two months early.

We had a great time together at lunch on Sunday. And then it was time for Stephanie and Melly and Allissa to go, so that the girls could have some Father's Day with their own dad.

Allissa and Dagny are very close and it was hard for Lissy when it came time to say goodbye.

It's not even summer yet! Not until Friday. I promised Allissa at least one more visit before school starts in August for all of the children.

On Monday morning I was sorting through our cards and gifts. The children generously gave to a fund for a trip TG and I plan to take in the fall, to New England.

They also gave us a collage -- five pictures: one of each of the kids with their families, and one of TG and me.

Of all of the gifts given in this season, this was the only one that made me cry.

You see, I took all of those pictures, except for the one of TG and me, which was taken at Erica's wedding.

The kids each picked their favorite from among pictures I'd taken of them, to contribute to the project.

It was Erica who put it all together.

Shakespeare wrote in the poem Venus and Adonis: Love is a spirit all compact of fire. I would have to agree with the Bard.

And there you have it: Forty photos of our fortieth (and more) festivities. I think we can all agree that everything was celebrated with the proper amount of joy and gratitude, and maybe even with a bit of extra style.

As it should be.

And that is all for now.


Happy Tuesday

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