Friday, August 27, 2010

Party Line

Yesterday Larry asked me if I remembered when we were children and our telephones had party lines. We laughed over those days and how if you knew who had which ring, you could just pick up the phone and join in the conversation. That seems a lot like FaceBook to me. Everyone can just chime into the conversation. I resisted FaceBook for a long time, but finally after my son created my account and invited people to be my friends, I had little choice. I enjoyed all the birthday greetings yesterday from people on FaceBook who otherwise would not have known to chime in and wish me happy birthday birthday.

I posted this picture on my profile for the day. It’s the only childhood birthday party I can ever remember having. My family didn’t really make a big deal over birthdays. My son’s birthday was close to Halloween and I always wanted to throw Halloween themed birthday parties for him. But even he didn’t want to fuss over birthdays. He only let me do it once when he was 10.

But back to the party lines, yesterday was more like a line of parties. We held a retirement lunch for my former boss of 15 years who will be greatly missed. Followed that with a surprise birthday celebration for me and another coworker. Then we tried to pull off a surprise retirement party for another coworker, but she left early so it fell through.

Then when I got home, there was my annual birthday dinner cooked by our friend Paul. I’ve written before about our birthday dinner traditions with them and this was my turn to be the recipient. Dinner began with a refreshing minted peach and cantaloupe soup. The entrĂ©e was Brazilian chicken and shrimp with rice. The poached chicken was very tender and the sauce had just a hint of heat.

And for dessert there was hump cake. Don’t ask…… But I will say that the story began seven or eight years ago when I purchased (or I thought I had) a cathedral Bundt cake pan for Paul for Christmas. We take turns and each unwrap our gifts one at a time so that we can all admire them. When Paul unwrapped his box, he seemed pleased by the picture of the pan on the carton. When he opened the sealed carton, there was nothing inside. Absolutely nothing. The box was empty. With a very puzzled look, his daughter Sarah, who was then six or seven, looked at me and asked, “You gave him an empty box?” Like, it’s a Christmas present, why would you do such a thing???!!! her expression said. And so began the saga of the hump cake. Sarah is now a young lady of 15 and we still tease her relentlessly regarding the contributions she has made to our families’ lore. Unfortunately for her, the stories continue on and on and on, every time we gather, particularly to eat cake. It’s the party line.


  1. I'm so glad you had such a good party! Now you will have to tell the 15 year old girl that people all over the world know her story!
    My 80 year old dad was telling my kids about party lines a few months ago. They were pretty amazed at all the things that have happened in his lifetime!

  2. Love the hump cake stories. Those are the kind you take to your grave - they just make you smile whenever you think of them.

    What a delicious sounding birthday dinner, good food and friends are the perfect way to celebrate a birthday.

  3. Happy belated birthday!! OMG, totally remember party lines - haven't thought of that in years.

    When my daughter was around 7, we visited a friend who still had a rotary phone. Hannah wanted to call her grandma (pretty sure she was just bored!) and she came into the living room and was like "Mom, I have no idea how to use that phone!" She kept pushing her fingers in the round circles!

  4. LOL - Don't you just love the family jokes? Especially the one liners that have an entire history wrapped up in that one line! Hump cake. LOL. Can't wait to tell my mother that on my drive home tonight! Have you ever seen the lists of things that are current for kids? Like cell phones have always been around. And, cd's are for music. Makes me feel like a geezer :-) Hope you have a great week!! Kate

  5. Oh,'re just darling in that photo!!!

    I think it's probably a good thing party lines came into being AFTER I was born. I probably would've been sitting there listening all day to peoples conversations! :) Although I'm sure people were more polite back then and maybe didn't do those things..? Reminds me of one of my favorite Doris Day movies, "Pillow Talk."

    So glad you had a fabulous birthday...You deserved it!!