Wednesday, November 10, 2010

A Grand Birthday

My mother will turn 85 tomorrow, so my family hosted a grand party for her this past Saturday at my sister Karen's house in Georgia. Most of my family lives near there, so it was a convenient spot. We arranged for an open house to run from 2 to 4 in the afternoon, and we thought people would come and go as they tend to do at open houses, but they all came at once and stayed the entire two hours. It was lovely, especially for my mother who enjoyed being the center of attention, surrounded by her lady friends. There were nearly 30 people there, including the hosts—Karen, my sister Myra, my niece-in-law Hannah, and me. We have another sister, Melanie who lives in Chicago, but she wasn't able to make it.

This was a lovely southern ladies' event. We hired a caterer to make what we probably would have made ourselves—tea sandwiches (open-faced cucumber, pimento and cheese, chicken salad), crab dip, fruit and cheese, spanakopita, ham biscuits with black pepper and honey. We also had a wonderful pound cake, and I believe each individual serving weighed one literal pound. And we had the coconut cake of your dreams. We served punch and coffee and tea, and there was lace and pink everywhere. My mother's favorite color is pink (her kitchen cabinets are painted pink!), so my sister, who is a floral designer by trade, had pink roses on all the tables.

We had requested the guests not bring gifts, but quite a few brought them anyway, which delighted my mother, even though she kept saying, "I said I didn't want any of you to bring me gifts. You shouldn't have." She wears a lot of scarves and wraps with her suits when she goes to church, so they gave her scarves. At least six of them in all shapes and colors—lots of pink.

My Aunt Sybel was there, too. She is my mother's sister, and her 80th birthday is today, actually, so Karen made corsages for the two of them. Sybel drove there from Alabama and stayed the night at Karen's house, and it was wonderful to see the two sisters together. After the party, we all sat at the kitchen table and listened to them swap stories from their childhood as we nibbled on leftover biscuits with honey and coconut cake—priceless.

Here are some photo highlights:

The dining room table set for the occasion.

The buffet table.

A centerpiece with a green gourd as the vase—
the photo beside it is of my mother in 1947ish.

The dining room fireplace arranged with leaves from Karen's magnolia tree and gourds. She carved the one in the middle and stained the carving with dried spices.

Ladies around the table. My mother is the woman on the right toward the back
in the striped sweater, enjoying a piece of cake.


savannah said...

what a gorgeous event! i think it must be a generational/southern thing re pink! miss daisy has the same feeling about all things pinkish to peachy! i swear, sometimes it sounds like that scene in "steel magnolias" about shelby's colors:

Truvy: What are your colors, Shelby?
Shelby: My colors are "blush" and "bashful."
M'Lynn: Her colors are "pink" and pink."
Shelby: My colors are "blush" and "bashful" Mama!
M'Lynn: How pretentious is this weddin' gonna get, I ask you?

HAPPY BIRTHDAY, to the lovely ladies! xoxox

dive said...

A beautiful birthday party for lovely Southern ladies, Robyn.
Happy birthday to your mom and to Sybel!
So was the icing on the coconut cake just how you remember it? I hope so.
So glad you all (or perhaps that should be "y'all") had such a wonderful time.