Birthday Specials

Today’s post comes from Cynthia in Mahtowa

On Sunday I turn 75 years old. In the past I have celebrated “landmark” birthdays with gatherings of almost everyone I know. The first one was for my 60th. It was a potluck (I provided ham and turkey) in the basement of church-turned-theater. I called it “The Funeral of my Youth” and decorated with photos from my past. Since I have friends from several different pieces of my life, I asked them to wear a nametag indicating why they knew me and when they met me. I think about 50 people were there. Upstairs in the “sanctuary/theater” a couple friends performed songs they had written in my honor, another sang John Hartford’s “Tall Buildings” for me. A friend and I performed a short play (vignette?) of “I’m Herbert” by Robert Anderson (it’s one of a collection of four short one acts titled “You Know I Can’t Hear You When the Water’s Running”). It is two old folks sitting on the porch trying to remember their past.

When I turned 64 I threw another party based on the Beatles song. Again in the basement of the small church-turned-theater. Less elaborate, again a potluck but no “performances.” Well, one. We had to hear the song, of course. A friend sang it right before everyone walked out the door.

Then at 70 I invited friends again, even more as my circle had expanded. The church-turned-theater had been purchased for a home, so I found another lovely venue nearby—the Scott House. It is a historic-once-was-a-stagecoach stop between St Paul/Mpls and Duluth/Superior. It was still beautifully decorated from the holidays. The entertainment was the movie “Lumber Jill” where I played a “Creepy Old Woman.” ( ) Another potluck of exceptional tastiness. Another success…another group of 50+ or so. I promised everyone I would do it again…

But this year, even retired and with time to prepare, I opted for a less celebratory event. This year I decided I wanted to meet with people for dinner or lunch in small gatherings so I get to talk to everyone and enjoy their company more one-on-one and spread out throughout the month.

What do you do to celebrate those “special/landmark” birthdays?

71 thoughts on “Birthday Specials”

  1. I didn’t know you to celebrate the 50-64 birthdays, but was fortunate to be included as a friend celebrating your 70th. You don’t look nor do you act your age,..I love that!
    For me age…as in the superstition numbers…is something I rarely think about. I have to remember the year to know my age…my birthday is in December and I follow the new year with the last number of the year corresponding with my new age=I’m now 67.
    I’ve never celebrated other than as a child. My celebrations now are greeting cards, singing calls from siblings and my daughter. Daughter and grandkids always have cards and gifts for me. Husband takes me out for dinner. I’m uncomfortable being the center of attention ‘tho I appreciate and later reflect with a glowing warmth of being loved. I love giving & participating in celebrations for others!

    Happy EARLY birthday my dear +friend! We shall celebrate birthdays with Kaffe Fika when I return!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I will never forget that “princess” cake you created for my 70th….it was most memorable! And I’m hoping for klinger for my celebration with you and cousin Rachel!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. What great birthday ideas, Cynthia! Might have to steal some for the upcoming 70th…

    The last actual party I held was for my 39th birthday, just a small gathering at o ur house then in S. Minneapolis. I wrote a blog piece last winter about my 50th, when I took myself around the country by Amtrak.


    1. I remember that blog and am inspired by it and may check back with you on details to do at least the MN-west coast-MN trip. You are welcome to steal whatever…:-)


  3. Rise and Shine Baboons!

    Hey, Cynthia, Happy Birthday! a few days late. Hope you had a great celebration.

    All celebration must involve delicious food. Our family birthday cake (meaning parents/sibling) is German’s Sweet Chocolate Cake, homemade, no mix or canned frosting. The concoction is so delicious. Then there are the celebration pies, a la my post in December, which also show up at celebrations.

    Mostly, though, I get sand in my shoes and want to travel to celebrate.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. My father in law and his wife have the same birthday in September, but are 10 years apart. This year rhey had a big bash for their 90th and 80th birthdays at the community center at their gated community in Denver. I was glad to celebrate with them, but their guests were, by and large, all pretty vocal Trump supporters. That was not real comfortable.


    1. Yup, Trumpistan is an awkward nation, to be certain. It is absent grace, social skills, and democratic values.

      I hope they had good food to make up for the rest.


      1. The food was good. Father in law was just diagnosed with Alzheimers, so i am glad we went to his party, as we will lose him by inches now.


    2. One of my short stories is about a woman going to visit her sister in a gated community outside of Reno, which is based on visits my sister has made to my western relatives.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. is it available somewhere? i love your stories and look forward to a time when i can get to my reading. right now i am sad at being so far behind in the two books for book club 3 weeks from d day. i want to read the stories yo hav eon your blog and encourage you to continue if for noone but me when i get caught up. how about if i promise to stay crrent and try to get caught up with the back log.?
        keep writing and see if there is a way to transpose without all the typing from existing stories that you are trying to post
        sandy still good?


      2. i just talked with someone the other dfay abot the fact my son moved ot reno and she said her husbands famoily is named needles and the town of needles just down the road from reno is named after him
        they are having a little of steves weather on the other side of the mountain 42% of california is no longer in drought after the current downpours. my son tells me the ground doesnt absorb water so 2″ of rain leaves 12″ standing.


  5. The last birthday I “celebrated” was the one that made me too old to be drafted for the war in Vietnam. I haven’t been enthusiastic about any birthday since then, although my fiftieth was fun and memorable because a bear joined the birthday party (at the cabin) and ran off with some of our food.

    OT aside: I’m still snowbound up on my little mountain. My daughter is going to try to get food, wine and medical supplies to me this AM. If authorities still have barricades on the only road accessing this place she will dump the relief supplies on a kid’s sled and drag it up the hill to me. She needs to get away from my grandson. Winter weather has closed his school five of the last six days, so he and his mom can’t stand the sight of each other (although they had fun yesterday on a sliding hill).

    Happy birthday Cynthia!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. My goodness!!! Two weeks ago, Portland shut down due to black ice; now it’s snow?? In MN, any time I hear a blizzard or significant snow is coming, I race up to buy what I need in order to be comfortable waiting it out. Wine’s on my list, too.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. They do the same here. Traffic at my grocery store has been just insane, for we keep getting these winter storms.

        I’ve got a special problem, since my apartment sits atop a small mountain with steep sides. They close the road leading to and away from here when things get icy. We haven’t had garbage pickup, package delivery or mail for three days.


      2. portland shuts there schools down a week in advance because they got some ice.
        oregon is a nice state but even Georgia only shuts down one day at a time when there is weather. oregon is a state of political philosophy i appreciate but what a bunch of weenies


        1. sorry i misread. i thought it said they closed the school down for 6 days because of ice. they are still weenies but they are reactive weenies not proactive weenies it appears

          Liked by 1 person

      1. when i was a 5 year old my mom saw me all day every day and she had to keep an eye on me while she navagated her way throught the 2 sibs right behind me ( they were a little easier) captain was the extent of my preschool education then out to play or down the basement to bounce on the couch to the music on the turntable or some other 1960 activity. silly putty was what technology was offering in 1960. state of the art…remember making comics stretchhhhhhh

        Liked by 1 person

  6. My birthday is only 11 days before Christmas. As a kid, a couple of times Santa Claus came to town on that day so visiting him was part of my party. I generally don’t celebrate birthdays any more except to share a dinner out with my closest friend (our birthdays are 2 months apart). It has become a tradition to have lava cake for dessert.
    There were two “landmark” birthdays that were a bit more special. My 40th coincided with an annual Holiday Open House I used to host. One of my cousins brought an “Over the Hill” cake. And I treated myself to a 4 day Bahamas cruise.
    Two music teachers for whom I volunteered as piano accompanist threw a surprise party at school for my 60th. They invited the choir and orchestra kids from each grade (5 – 8) to enjoy cake in the music room during their recess – that was a lot of sheet cake! The teachers gave me a tee shirt with a silhouette of a grand piano and the initials CKA on the front – Collaborative Keyboard Artist on the back. Many of the kids gave me homemade cards, too. It made turning 60 a little more fun.

    Liked by 6 people

  7. When I turned 30, my mom asked me, “Well, how does it feel to be 30?” She said this with some amount of momentous moment inflection, expecting me to give some answer of significant import. I shrugged and said, “It feels like 29 and a day.” This was an obvious disappointment to her.

    When I turned 40, she asked the same question with similar tone but a bit of expectant disappointment. I delivered the same relevant response and added, “As the youngest, it seems like this is more of a milestone for you, rather than me.” This was, again, not the response she wanted to hear.

    When I turn 50 this year, I’m betting that she won’t bother.

    Liked by 2 people

      1. Maybe I could. I’m sure I could come up with something really philosophically deep, thoughtful, inspiring, and affirming. Naaaaaaaaahhhh.


    1. When my first granddaughter was born, my mother asked me, “Well, how does it feel to be a grandfather?”
      I responded, ” It feels great. How does it feel to be the mother of a grandfather?”

      Liked by 5 people

  8. OT: Because I’m not a gardener, I have had little to say to those Baboons who enjoy gardening. I just smiled through a charming story in the Saturday Strib about a garden in Cornucopia, the town near my old cabin. It turns out to be owned by people we knew. It is nice on a day like this to think of gardens!

    Liked by 3 people

    1. I have a story about the man in that article, Steve Denker. He’s a carpenter. We wanted him to work on our cabin, but couldn’t get him on the phone. After trying several times I told myself, “This is a small town. It’s dumb trying to contact a person with large town tactics. I’ll do this the small town way by walking into a bar and asking for him.”

      I did. When I asked the barmaid if she knew where Steve Denker was, she looked puzzled and said, “He’s on the stool beside you.”

      I needed to contact him a second time, so I just walked in the same bar. He was sitting on the same stool.

      I told him, “You’re actually easy to contact. I just have to walk in this bar and you’ll be sitting here.”

      Steve smiled and said, “You’re easy, too. If I need to talk to you, I can sit on this stool. You’ll be coming in within minutes.”

      I love small towns!

      Liked by 3 people

      1. And those are all the reasons I don’t love them. I love being anonymous. When you live in that day after day, it is a glass house.


      2. This is classic. In small towns everyone knows too much about everyone else. In large metro areas the people one encounters day by day are almost all strangers. When I, an outsider from a metro area, visited Cornucopia it was a charming change. But I was usually there for just a few days. People I know who live in small towns usually make awful faces when I talk about the delights of small towns.

        Liked by 1 person

  9. A few years ago, I signed up for a few birthday freebies: free dessert at Longfellow Grill, a free bowl of noodles at Noodles, and a buy-one-entree-get-one-free at Prima. The noodles offer deteriorated to something less desirable and I enjoy going by myself to Longfellow Grill and reading a book while I eat. And when I can find someone to go with me, I enjoy Prima (sadly, two entrees is too much for one person). The nice thing about this sort of celebration is it’s very low key and good for an introvert. And the food is good and there’s no cleanup for me.

    Liked by 2 people

  10. Nice job, Cynthia. Hope you have multiple small celebrations to mark your 75th birthday. Happy Birthday!

    At our house we celebrate birthdays sporadically when we feel like it, and usually without a whole lot of hoopla. A special dinner at a nice restaurant is about as fancy as we get, but some of those have been memorable.

    For some reason a bunch of my coworkers thought my 40th birthday was a big deal, and wanted to throw me a surprise birthday party. I caught wind of it and put the kibosh on a male stripper they intended to hire to come to my office. We settled for cake and champagne for everyone.

    Husband shares his birthday with his best friend, and for years and years, we’d have dinner at the Cherokee Sirloin Room because they offered a free steak dinner for anyone on their birthday. We two wives would buy our own prime rib dinner, and “treat” the guys to a steak dinner. Worked really slick until they redid the restaurant some years ago. After that even two free steak dinners couldn’t entice us to eat there, it had lost it’s old world charm.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh, I forgot! The Downtowner Car Wash gives you a free car during your birthday week. My birthday is in late April, so that’s when I usually get the accumulated winter grime washed off. The car wash was this past year, wonder whether they’ve retained that excellent tradition?

      Liked by 1 person

    2. i am a family on the real day guy for birthday get togethers.
      my family says i stupid but they say im stupid anyway.
      january is the beginning of birthday extravaganza at our house. my wife and my mom are 3 days apart. then we go to feb and me and my daughter are 4 days apart and my father in law and i have the same birthday. then to march where i have a son and a daughter 4 years apart that have different moms same birthday. then we take a break til june when i have pair. my oldest and youngest.
      my 60th was an attempt by my wife to make for a festive occasion and about 10 mismatched folks showed up to celebrate and it was nice for me but they kind of stood around and didnt interact, she had talked about going to new orleans to party for a couple of nites bt we didnt get it done. i thought that was a great choice but i always have difficulty spending money when its scarce so instead i enjoy fondue or pizza or some interactive family scenario, charades monopoly a couple of fun new ones we have added to the mix.. one with pictures that you create a caption for (have yo done the new yorker magazine caption contest? it is a riot. another with the topic laid out and a statement related to the topic that is then rated and one chosen as the winner and the others guessed as to who was the author. fun fun stuff.. maybe we should revisit game noight on the off month form book club. linda and i had a nice 6 moth run at it a couple of years ago. i love game night or day. i propose the third thurs day of the off bbc month at 630=- 700 with the potluck dinner bilt around the seasonal theme of fall bbq slmmer picnic etc. i think we should start at bills in march


  11. Hi Kids–

    I remember some pretty fun parties when I was 7 and 8. Had friends over and played hop-scotch in the front yard. And had ice cream.

    From there I remember turning 21 and being heavily involved in theater so that party was at a local restaurant with a bunch of theater friends.

    My siblings are always will to get together for a party so we’ll pick a random summer weekend and celebrate all the ‘summer birthdays’ with a grill out, bon-fire, and just sitting around talking. My family doesn’t do games. It’s curious. We just sit and talk. (avoiding politics this year. One member of Trumpistan. Thankfully, just the one, loud, vocal inhabitant…)

    We had a big party for my mom when she turned 90 last summer. And there have been card parties on certain milestone birthdays.

    Happy Birthdays to you on the Trail!

    Liked by 1 person

  12. I don’t remember much about any milestone birthdays, except one. The one that stands out is the year I turned 30. The day before my birthday the realtor called me to say my offer on the house where I now live was accepted. So there were a couple of reasons to celebrate. I had breakfast with a friend and we had mimosas.

    20, 21, 40, 50 – don’t really remember. I am pretty sure there was food for all of them, and probably birthday cards and gifts, but the years all sort of run together in memory. Most years there are multiple occasions connected with a birthday – dinner with family, and three or four friends who take me out to eat, separately or occasionally doubling up. Pretty low key as a rule.

    Liked by 2 people

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.