Blessing Day

Today is Dad’s 93rd birthday. Indeed a blessing!!

Yesterday, I asked him if he knew what tomorrow was. I mentioned the date to see if that would be recognizable. He thought about it for a minute, but it didn’t come to him. Then I told him it was his birthday and he remarked, “Oh, is it August already?!!”. So, he does know!

I had a little fun with him and asked if he’d like to have a Pizza Party to celebrate. To my surprise, he said Sure! (I don’t ever remember seeing him eat pizza!) So I asked him what kind of pizza he’d like. Immediately he shouted out “Italian sausage!” Being Sicilian, that wasn’t a surprise. πŸ˜‰ Then I asked him about all the toppings I knew he wouldn’t like: How about onions? “NOOOOO!” What about mushrooms? “YUCK!” Pepperoni? Green peppers? “No way, now you’re just ruining it!” We all got a good laugh out of that.

Then I asked if he’d like to play Pin The Tail On The Donkey. He didn’t recognize it, so I explained. He thought that was the funniest thing ever!

I asked if he’d like me to get some fireworks to shoot off in his honor? I know full well how much he loves fireworks. When he was a boy, his family lived near Lake Michigan in the Third Ward which was a predominantly Italian community. His grandfather owned a tavern, and Dad’s family lived right next door. Next to them was a large empty lot. On religious feast days, there would be a procession from the church with the saint-of-the-day and they’d end up at the vacant lot, where they completed the celebration with fireworks. Not the pretty color ones that soar into the night sky, but the looooong strings of firecrackers and even longer ropes of bigger “bombs” that, when exploded, would rattle your rib cage, as well as the windows in all the neighboring buildings! As soon as I asked the question, he started in on that story. πŸ™‚

A few weeks ago was Festa Italiana down at the lakefront. I was fortunate to have a few hours respite from a brother and got to go with a Sicilian friend from elementary school. Yes, there’s amazing food (can you say CANNOLI?). Yes, there’s fabulous vino. Yes, there is wonderful entertainment. But the piece-de-resistance is the fireworks at the end of the evening. Nothing can beat an Italian fireworks display! Because neither of my parents could attend, I recorded the fireworks show on my phone to share with them, as I have for the past 4 years.

I remembered I had that, and asked Dad if he’d like to hear them. “YESSSS!!” So, I got my phone, pulled up the video and raised the volume as high as it could go (for one, cuz his hearing is very impaired, but for two because Italian fireworks have to be loud!!). I held it right up to his ear and pressed play. Boy, did his face light up at the sound of them! I loved it!! My arm got tired holding the phone at that position because he kept saying “Again! Again!!!”. It was my pleasure. πŸ™‚

So, today on his birthday, Mom and I sang Happy Birthday to him. I made him a pizza with Italian sausage. And I made his favorite chocolate cake with chocolate icing from scratch, and served it with vanilla ice cream.

Him eating it all was a little messier than I prefer, but hey – it’s his birthday. And he’s 93.

What a blessing!


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