I’ve been thinking about this post for a while. Yet, because of the conditioning my upbringing has instilled in me, I just couldn’t see myself even writing this, let alone publishing it, until after the first full week of September.
Last week I had my sixtieth birthday. I figure that in five more years I can declare with pride that I am a senior, an old person, a retiree (I haven’t worked outside the home but I will be eligible for Medicare.).
I’ve talked about my brother’s birthday in this blog. And I even talked about a birthday I had as a kid when I got exactly what I wanted. In that post, I stated I didn’t really remember too much about most of my birthdays, which is true. I don’t remember what I got as presents. I don’t remember anything about the birthdays cards although I always received three of them. As I said in one of these posts, money was tight back then so my brother and I didn’t get too wrapped up in the material stuff concerning those “special days”.
Nevertheless, as much as the family pinched pennies, my mom did try to make our birthdays distinctive. Because my birthday fell on or around Labor Day, the last big whoopty-do of the season, making it exceptional was more of a challenge than my brother’s was.
Approximately five or six miles from our home was a restaurant that catered to families. If I remember right, it was next door to the cinema, which could make an evening especial wonderful. It was called The Drumstick. Its specialty was — you guess it — chicken. I kind of recall there being other main dishes but, because I was interceded in the drumstick, I didn’t pay that much attention.
A hostess sat you at your table or booth and took the order of drinks. She would leave you while you looked at the menu. Yes, very typical of an eatery but this is where the usual stops. Once you had made your selections, you would take one of the forms and the small pencil that were set with the salt, pepper and small vase of flowers at your table. You would check off the items you had chosen, place the form at the end of the table and then, pull the lever that would make a stick go up with a flattened balloon-type thing on the top of it. My brother and I would quarrel a little over who was going to pull the lever despite the fact that it was my birthday so I was the one who was to do this task. Once our dinners were ready, a server would bring them out to us.
The meals there were always good. Because the restaurant attracted families, none of the food had any hot seasonings in it or spices that just wouldn’t agree with a child’s palate. Because there weren’t any waiters or waitress, if you needed something, all you had to do was pull the lever. Presto, a server was there to help you.
Obviously, one of my parents, somehow, ordered something special for me as a dessert. I would be told to pull the lever after the meal. A server would come out of the kitchen with several others behind him or her and a cake that had candles blazing on it. They’d be singing Happy Birthday, as they would walk to our table.
It wasn’t the excitement that happened on my brother’s birthday, but I was always so happy that my mom had tried so hard to make my birthday special for me.