Sunday, May 30, 2010

They Say It's Your Birthday ...

by Leann

And it is my birthday. I think this is the first time I've ever blogged right on the very day and I won't be announcing my age--not that it's important. But my birthday used to fall on the "true" Memorial Day, May 30th, before we made all the bank holidays on Mondays.

Where I grew up in western New York, Memorial Day signified the beginning of decent weather. That meant no more snow for a couple months. My parents always had a family picnic at our house and somehow my birthday got lost in the festivities--picnic food and lots of beer drinking. I guess it was sort of like those people who have a birthday on Christmas. One present fits two occasions. Very convenient.

But I did enjoy all the relatives coming over, having the lawn chairs set out, and having the picnic table filled with all kinds of yummy food. And my mother always made a cake. I was grateful for that cake because, well, my grandmother was a baker and my grandfather was a chef, so she learned plenty from them. Yes, my mother made some fine cake. Back then it was always yellow cake with icing rich with chocolate chips and Crisco. These days it's, well, nothing. Chocolate gives me migraines and most cakes have eggs. I'm allergic to eggs. It's hell growing up, isn't it?

Unlike Christmas, which was always a disaster at our house, my birthday was usually pretty okay. My gazillion cousins came over and we played cards and board games and generally avoided the adults. The best time of all was the year that the dog stole the big (and expensive) steak off the grill and ran off with it. Us kids got a real kick out of that. The adults? Not so much. How about you? Do you have good memories of this holiday? Special traditions? Or is a family get together a real nightmare?