Last night, Joshua and I had my parents over for dinner in celebration of my mother’s birthday.
There was a pall over the evening, as there is a pall over all of Minneapolis right now, but Josh and I gave my parents the best evening possible.
Josh and I prepared some of my mother’s favorite foods: a very elaborate garden salad with all sorts of vegetables and pasta, a seafood soufflé, chicken breasts baked in an apple-cranberry glaze, riced potatoes, asparagus with Hollandaise sauce and a cranberry salad. For dessert, we made a very complicated lemon cake that took most of the evening to complete.
While Josh and I were working on the cake, my mother and father talked with us and they also talked on the telephone with my brothers, who offered my mother birthday greetings.
For her birthday, my mother was awarded with a houseful of flowers, all delivered yesterday morning: flowers from my father, flowers from each of my brothers, and flowers from Josh and me. It is too bad that my parents fly to Denver later today, because my mother will have too little time to enjoy all the flowers.
Selecting birthday presents for my mother is very, very difficult. It seems to get harder each successive year.
My father gave my mother a very beautiful and a very unique and a very stylish attaché case, which my mother can use for church meetings and for other functions she attends.
My older brother and my middle brother gave my mother art books. I had surreptitiously served as their detective, making sure that my mother did not already have the particular books my brothers selected.
My sister-in-law gave my mother a very beautiful and a very elegant evening sweater, which should come in handy during our visit to London.
My nephew gave my mother a very handsome brass picture frame containing a beautiful new photograph of him.
All of the out-of-town gifts had been shipped to Josh and me, for us to keep until my mother’s birthday.
Josh and I gave my mother an antique spice chest—the kind with all sorts of tiny drawers—that will go perfectly in her kitchen.
I think that my mother liked the gifts very much, and I think that she had the best possible birthday celebration, certainly the best possible one under the circumstances.
When we arrive home from work tonight, Josh and I will have the dog to care for until Tuesday night. We will take good care of him.
During that time, my middle brother will play host to my parents. I know he will take good care of them and serve as the perfect host. They will be in the best of hands.