Today was a special day. My stepfather celebrated his 85th birthday (he actually turned 85 earlier this week) with family and friends. As always, we had lots of fun, gathered at their favorite local “diner,” taking one entire end of the facility. My brother, sister, nephew, niece, niece’s boyfriend, hubby and I sat at one table. As is typical, we joked and told stories of the silly things we did as kids, the things our kids did and so on.
Meanwhile, at other tables friendly conversations were being held by all, and the room hummed in a happy, dull roar. Waiters took our orders and served our food and people moved around, each taking time to stop for a few minutes to wish John a happy birthday and thank Mom for having such a nice gathering to celebrate his birthday.
At one point Mom, whose voice is anything but timid, brought the room to attention asking that all take just a moment out of their conversations to listen to a particular birthday card John had received from two of his dear friends. Obligingly, all attention was turned toward the man standing beside John, holding a sturdy sheet of white paper, and wearing dark sunglasses.
“I want to share with you the birthday card we made for our friend John,” he said. With that he began to move his fingers over the paper and “read” the words.
“Here’s wishing you a very happy
From Will and Kate, your friends,
And though the years keep gliding
By, our love for you won’t end.
So on this very special day
May love and joy prevail,
And as an extra added treat
We wrote this card in Braille.
Will and Kate.”
Well, I don’t need to tell you, everyone was touched by this lovely sentiment, shared by those who have never laid eyes on the man whom they have known as a friend for many, many years. I was impressed with their choosing to share their greetings with John in the “words” they could read but he could not. Their entire lives they have relied on good people to present things to them that they could not see, with honesty. Now, they were honestly presenting to him their feelings, and were confident he would trust them as they have trusted him.
Before we parted, I sat with Will and he read the words again for me, that I might transcribe them into the recognizable words to which we are accustomed. I gave a copy to Mom and John, and I kept a copy for myself. I will put it in my box of reminders – reminders of faith, love and trust.
Happy Birthday John! (this is the placemat Mom made for the occasion)