April 11 – Growing up, each of us kids had something special for our birthdays. In fact, now as I look back on it we were treated as kings and queens, even though it might mean a lot more work for Ma. All our chores were forgiven on our birthday. No dishes to wash, no beds to make, no rows of vegetables to hoe. Nothing. We were completely free!
Our gifts were often handmade, and filled with love. Sometimes we received pencils and tablets or a small box of candy. One special birthday, when I was thirteen, brought me a surprise party with a few of my school friends, along with a great number of elderly ladies like Miss Barnes, who had taught Ma to sew at the YWCA.
My special present, though, was a bouquet of colorful roses, perfumed by the summer breezes. Each year since I can remember, Ma would come into the bedroom where I had just awakened, to say softly, “Happy birthday, Sis,” and present me with the roses, still beautiful with the early morning dewdrops. Just the day before she would have sent me to Tillmans’ Greenhouse up the road to present Dolly, their daughter’ with her special birthday bouquet. – CHRIS