Our nearest neighbor was also the first we met 26 years ago. Since then, Sam and Millie Cornett, have been dear friends. A few weeks ago Millie called and left a message on our phone. "We're having a surprise 80th birthday party for Sam."
It was held at Pam Erisman's (their daughter), our next nearest neighbor. The Erisman's set up tables in their garage. We arrived at 2 pm and waited for Sam to arrive. Millie feigned a stomach upset to delay Sam seeing what was going on.
I asked Sam when his actual birthday was. "About a week ago," was all he would say. That's Pam on the far left.
Mom and I took seats as far inside the garage as possible to avoid the May heat. It peaked at 82° and the humidity was oppressive. An open walk-through door provided a pleasant breeze. This shot shows everyone waiting for the guest of honor to arrive.
Directly across the table from us sat Jim and Cleo Erisman, Jeff's (Pam's husband) parents. They are also the parents of Sherry Wallace, who does Mom's hair, and Jim Erisman, my barber. There aren't more pleasant people to be around.
Before 2:30 pm Sam was secreted in and he had a big smile on his face. Did he know something was going on? Perhaps, but he seemed to enjoy the surprise just the same.
Millie explains how hard it was for her to keep the secret. "Every time I was phoning people with the invitations, Sam would walk in the door and I'd have to get off the phone!", she said.
Sam begins working his way through the crowd. I remember when Dad died (05/25/11) Sam told me, "I'm just ten years younger than your Dad," He was 78 at the time. Sam's doing well, though. He mows weekly and seems to stay active.
Millie, too. works her way through the crowd. Pam's garage is a great place for gatherings of this sort. The last time we were there was in July 2008 for Rick Cornett's retirement from General Motors. Rick is Pam's brother.
Nearing 88, I doubt Mom will be able to attend another of these events. We drove down the road, parked on Ersiman's lawn and I walked her carefully to their garage. Even then the uneven ground is hard for Mom to walk on. I hold one hand; she uses a cane in the other. So, memories are made ... the whole way round.