This past winter as I was sorting through old notebooks, journals, and daily blessing books, I found the journal of signed guests who attended my fiftieth birthday party. It was a joy to reread and remember not only the people that came to that wonderful day-long party, but to remember the special events that took place that day.
Surprisingly I found myself sobbing with unstoppable tears as I read an entry by my father. I don’t remember catching his remark until now. The long weekend party also included Ethan’s high school graduation and so the house and neighborhood was overflowing with family, friends, and much activity. I remember looking at the guest book comments as we began the cleaning and returning of borrowed and rented supplies, yet somehow this entry escaped me.
“Happy Birthday, Butch” was all that was written. And even now I am starting to cry as I write this precious memory that I hadn’t thought of in years. You see, sixty-eight years ago, I was born to Don and Sylvia who were just eighteen years old themselves. I was their first child, and of course would like to think was the apple of their eye at that time.
would like to think was the apple of their eye
When I was just a little girl my Dad started calling me “Butch.” I don’t remember anyone else ever calling me that so I think it was his special nickname for me. As I entered my teens and then married, the nickname was used less and less. Eventually my dad didn’t say it anymore and I didn’t even notice.
The years went by as years tend to do. I was now fifty and wanted to celebrate the beginning of this wonderful time of my life with gathering my family and friends around and giving them a special day. My way of thanking them for being in my life: enriching it beyond measure.
My parents had come for the weekend along with most all of my family. One sister designed and made game boards testing memories of the fifties, my other sister designed and made the decorations and centerpieces for the tables, my brothers helped grill for the chicken barbeque, and my children and their friends became the waiters and waitresses. Dick, who I stand in awe of, kept me grounded and gave the party its special artistic touch.
We ended the day with a square dance caller who led us through the Virginia Reel and more as well as a few waltzes. It was one of the last times my parents danced together to their favorite song, “The Tennessee Waltz.” I get misty eyed just thinking of that special moment……….
once again I feel like that loved little girl named “Butch”
Okay, I’m back. I had started crying and couldn’t stop, so I needed to leave for a while. But I’m back now and will try to finish my story. “After the ball is over” everyone goes home. The house gets back in order, farm activities resume, and everyone’s routine falls into place once again. Life goes on. The guest book got put away: until this past winter.
Here I am having turned sixty-eight yesterday and for a moment wishing I could hear my father’s voice calling me “Butch” once again. But I rejoice that I can read his handwriting anytime I want or need to and see his note, “Happy Birthday, Butch.” Did he still think of me as his little girl? Was he pleased in some small way at who I had become? Thank you, Lord, for preserving a forgotten memory and note in the guest book. And thank you to my Dad for giving me the gift of his written birthday wish. Today, once again I feel like that loved little girl named “Butch.”