OPINION

THE SIMPLE LIFE: Birthdays

Trish Morgan
Special to the News Tribune
no caption
Trish Morgan

Birthdays. Yes, I had one of those this week, and I'm not really sure how I feel about it.

When I woke up on my birthday morning and was getting ready to begin my daily routine of things, it dawned on me that I just became a year older. Certainly, my aches and pains remind me daily that I am not young and agile. Each day it seems like wrinkles appear from nowhere, especially around my eyes. Darn those crow's feet!

Then, I can look at my hands and see my skin is thinning by the minute, and brown spots make their appearance to remind me that the carefree days of my younger days are behind me.

Now, don't get me wrong. It's not that I hate getting older. After all, that is life. But, there are many days I would give just about anything to turn back the clock and do my life over - starting at age 18. There are a zillion things I would differently.

As for birthdays when I was growing up? They were always special. Back in those "olden days,” there was not really a big focus on elaborate children's birthday parties like today. There were no extravagant and expensive pony parties, or princess sleepovers, and families didn't spend hundreds and hundreds of dollars on lavish decorations, foods and gifts. You see a lot of that in today's society. Now, it's all about "keeping up with the Jones'" and outdoing what little Sally's parents did last year!

In my day, life was much more simple. Mom was an excellent cook and a terrific baker, and each year for our birthdays, we got to choose our own menu and our favorite kind of homemade birthday cake.

Even as a young child, I was pretty much set in my comfort zone. My favorite meal, although I suppose I may have lived dangerously and chosen something else, was pretty much decided upon weeks before my birthday. Anticipation, ya know? My choice was most always pan-fried chicken (Mom made the best ever!), real mashed potatoes (Dad and I were real mashed potatoes snobs - mashed with milk and country butter), homemade gravy and green beans. ALWAYS green beans. I still use Mom's recipes to this day.

Then, the cake - the hardest choice of all. "Trishie, you need to make up your mind!" I just couldn't decide. Grandmother always got butter brickle, Mom had German chocolate - those I remember as clear as day. That butter brickle, though? Yuck. None of us kids liked that one. Every Feb. 27, we had to be polite and share cake with Grandmother, and somehow chase that cake down with a tall glass of cold milk.

For my birthday, though, I had to choose my favorite. How can you choose a favorite among delicious red velvet, devil's food, coconut, confetti vanilla, chocolate buttercream, peanut butter, yellow cake, Jello cake or pudding cake? Decisions, decisions. It was so important, and since it was MY day, it had to be perfect.

Like a creature of habit, devil's food it was. A big dark chocolate devil's food cake with peanut butter frosting - with candles on top...the Pièce de résistance.

So, 63 birthdays have come and gone, as just as many cakes. In fact, the years have whizzed by, and I find myself taking account of all of the details of my life - high school, people I have loved and love, college, marriage, children, illnesses, social activities, surgeries, injuries, death, unemployment, failings and saves, careers, mistakes and lessons, music and theatre, honors and awards, caretaking, friends, family, church, grandchildren, hobbies, "falling off the horse and getting back on,” and an enormous list of fun and shortcomings.

When I was young, I never pictured myself at age 63. Ever. Yet, here I am - writing, living, loving - and trying my best to live a God-centered life, and enjoy all of the blessings AND lessons that are offered.

That's all we can do, really. Everything else is frosting on the cake.

Until next time, my friends. Let's talk again.