How Do You Celebrate?

How Do You Celebrate?

Around the Bluhmin’ Town


Judy Bluhm

How do you celebrate your birthday? My girlfriend, Carol, has a big birthday coming up. She is thinking about going skydiving to celebrate. She wondered if I might like to join her. I told her there wasn’t enough alcohol in the world to get me to jump out of a moving plane. That’s when she said three mean, heartless, sad little words, “You are boring.” Oh, come on.

If aging isn’t bad enough, so is the pressure to do something “exciting” to celebrate the passing of time. We are encouraged to make bucket-lists with lots of places we should go and things we should do. You know, like going to Pamplona, Spain to run with the bulls (terrifying). Zip-line through the jungle in Costa Rica (nope). Swim with the dolphins (Possibly). Well, I am not having any of it! I don’t have a bucket-list!

Carol also suggested that I go to France with her and a few other friends, so we can take some cooking classes at the Cordon Bleu. She said it would be a “delicious” way to enhance our cooking skills plus have fun. When I mentioned this to my husband, Doug, he just looked at me and laughed, “But you have a Julia Child cookbook.” So true. You see, it is not “normal” (in my world) to go flying off to Paris to learn how to make Coq au Vin. Although I would like to wear a white apron and chef’s hat for a day.

I may not take a French cooking class, but I do know how to make a birthday cake. In Western cultures, particularly in the Unites States, we eat lots of cake. The American Institute of Baking estimates Americans eat about 100 million cakes per year! This started out as a German tradition centuries ago and carried over from early Roman times when birthdays were celebrated with a gathering (for men only). Then candles were added by the ancient Greeks to make the cakes glow like the moon in honor of the goddess Artemis.

Today, birthday parties, balloons, cards and singing “Happy Birthday to You”are as American as apple pie. And aside from greeting cards and gifts, we also like to give (kids} birthday spankings. Well in Brazil they pull earlobes (ouch), in Ireland they like to give bumps (kicks) and in Venezuela they like to push the lucky person’s face into their own birthday cake (yum).

My granddaughter just turned seven and after doing cartwheels at her party, she announced that her birthday, “is the happiest day of my life.” My mother said the same thing when she turned ninety. How we celebrate is less important than the fact that we are joyful to have a birthday.

I made my friend, Carol, a birthday cake and gave her a small decorative bucket with a notepad and pen, so she could make her “list” in style.

For your next birthday, Dear Readers, eat the cake and blow out the candles. Avoid spankings. Try doing a cartwheel (let me know how that works out). Celebrate the “happiest day of your life!” No parachute required.

Judy Bluhm is a writer and a local realtor. Have a story or a comment? Email Judy at [email protected].

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