December birthday means whole town celebrates the day
A name is the first gift parents give their pride and joy. In choosing this gift they should remember this is the kid they will depend on in their old age. When I think of all the names out there I kinda lucked out on the name gift. The second gift is the date of your birth and lady luck was not shining on me. December 21 is not the lottery jackpot of birthdays. Mother said not to blame her, she was expecting me in January and thought it was very rude of me to mess up so many plans by coming early. I guess if there had been a principal’s office in the hospital nursery, I would have spent my first few hours on earth in a time-out crib, thus starting me out on the path of troublemaker.
My battle with the 21st was its closeness to Christmas. I got one gift with a happy birthday and Merry Christmas written on the card. It was just plain mean to do that to a child, well lets face it, to a grown up too. My parents did try to ease the pain. December 21 was officially the Christmas tree-decorating day at our house. For dinner’s dessert the first fruitcake of the season was cut.
We baked our fruitcakes the day after Thanksgiving and stored them in a tall tin in the pantry. Every Friday Daddy would take them out and marinate the cakes in bourbon, rum, and brandy. I am one of the four people in the whole wide world who truly loves fruitcake. I begged for quite a few years to serve one as my birthday cake at my party, but Mother stood firm with her no. The last thing she needed was to have my friends staggering home with an alcoholic breath.
My town gave me our Christmas parade as a birthday present. All my party guests would pile into cars and go to town to enjoy the festivities. The high school band always started the parade. “Jingle Bells” never sounded so wonderful even though half of the band was playing a different song. Our mayor came by waving and grinning from ear to ear like he was the one, we all had come to see. Ha.
We were all anxiously waiting to hear the fire truck siren in the distance. It finally appeared with Santa sitting on top waving and throwing candy canes. The story passed down year after year was if you caught the treat, you were on the good list, but if you missed the candy cane, you were on the naughty page. I noticed that even the bad boys looked very nervous, if Santa’s aim was off center. As for me, I could have signed a contract with any professional baseball team. I excelled at candy cane catching.
After the parade we piled back into the cars and went to my house for games and treats. My Nana always made my favorite cake, next to fruitcake – chocolate pound cake with chocolate frosting. Instead of pinning tails on a donkey, Mother came up with a different game. One year we pinned paper candles on a cake she had drawn on a big piece of paper. Another time we had to pin decorations on a paper Christmas tree. Even the bad boys had a good time.
As I look back on it, I know how blessed I have been. I had a whole town to throw a parade and even invited Santa because it was my birthday. No one had the heart to tell me that wasn’t exactly true. But what was true, was a family that made so many days in my life so special and who loved me even if I did come too early. So you don’t have to throw any candy canes. Santa knows I have been really good lately – well, really good for me.
Brenda Loyd Allred grew up in Summerville when it was a very small town. She now lives at Franke at Seaside with her husband Les.