Tuesday, March 31, 2015

70th Birthday Week

In our family we have a tradition of celebrating birthdays for multiple days. This usually happens because there is a "immediate family celebration" and then a "extended family gathering" and finally a "friends party". Well, this is how it happens with the grandchildren and it is modified a bit for us adults. The important thing is that we are all given permission to celebrate for about a week with special meals, sometimes gifts, fun experiences, and extraordinary gatherings.

My celebration began on Saturday, 3/21, when our first born, Carla, flew into Tampa International, rented a car, and met us for lunch at Sam's on Hudson Beach.

Below is Carla and Mary at Sam's
In the evening we drove over to Pine Island, only three miles from our rental, to watch the sunset.
 John and Carla

Sunday morning we were all treated to a boat ride on the Hommossasa River with our great friend's,  Dewey and Elizabeth. 
We then stopped along the river for lunch. 
That afternoon Carla traveled over to Orlando for three days of training for her job. This worked out great as I rented a house in Kissimmee and invited all the children and grandchildren to gather there for a birthday celebration. Two sons-in-laws and one granddaughter could not come (we sure missed Todd, Morgan, and Ted) but 16 of us were able to come together in the sunshine. The house has 7 bedrooms and 4 1/2 baths and a screened in pool with a hot tub.
The entire house is decorated in a Hollywood Rock and Roll theme.
 On Wednesday, 3/25, my actual birthday, Mary, John, and I drove to the Orlando area and checked into the house. Within the hour, Carla and her children; Kaylyn and Brendan, arrived and they took me out to supper at a Texas Roadhouse where the staff had me sit on a saddle while they wished me a happy birthday. I was so embarrassed! Later in the evening the rest of the children and grandchildren arrived and settled into their themed bedrooms.
The Hollywood Suite with huge King size bed, private en-suite and 40” internet TV
The Rat Pack Suite with Queen size bed, private en-suite and 40” internet TV 
The Superstar Suite with Queen bed, 20” TV & DVD player 
The Guitar Hero Suite with Queen bed, 20” TV & DVD player
The Divas Boudoir with two Twins, 20” TV & DVD player
The Cyber Zone with two Twins, 20” TV & DVD player
Hogwarts Hideaway (Harry Potter themed room) with 4 Bunk beds and 20” flatscreen TV
We spent three wonderful days in this house swimming, playing ping pong, eating, card playing, laughing, and talking. Having everyone together in such a neat setting was the best birthday gift ever.
 Kaylyn and Hannah giving the birthday boy a hug
 John and Joshua performing
 Elizabeth and Suzi performing a "messy" skit with the help of their husbands behind them
 Elizabeth and Dewey singing an original and witty song
 Noah, Jacob, and birthday boy
The oldest grandchildren
On Thursday evening my friends, Dewey and Elizabeth, joined us for dinner, birthday cake, and a talent show. A grandson did magic tricks, others danced and sang, two of the children and their spouses did an old camp skit that I loved. Elizabeth shared research and reflections on my name and Dewey performed a song which he also wrote. The lyrics of the song and some great pics are at http://deweysroadtoflorida.blogspot.com/2015/03/chucks-birthday-party.html

Friday was another day filled with family love and fun. A special treat was that Brendan, our oldest grandson, and I played two rounds of mini-golf and played three games of ping pong. Before leaving on Saturday many of us were able to play mini-golf and then share lunch at Chick-Fil-A. Mary, John, and I arrived back to our house in Weeki Wachee late that afternoon feeling exhausted and very happy.

On Sunday, 3/29, we concluded my "birthday week" with breakfast at "The Country Feed Store Cafe". 
That evening we found ourselves back at Pine Island for a drum circle that takes place every other week at sunset. John brought a drum that he had purchased earlier in our trip and played drums for over two hours. The drum circle is made up of talented, joyous, positive people gathered in a beautiful setting. 

It was the perfect ending to a most wonderful week. I am very thankful for all of my family and friends who wished me a happy 70th.


Dewey said...

Seems like a fairly full life for an old fella. Glad it all came together so well. That was really some house you found.

Gail Welter said...

I can't think of one thing that could have made it better! Perfect celebration for a great man!

Amy said...

Fantastic, Chuck. Happy year of celebration! Love the pictures.