Last weekend was pretty special: Granny turned 85! My mom and aunts thought it would be nice to do something different for her instead of the usual joint Easter/Birthday celebration. So, a Ladies Luncheon was decided! Sounds simple enough, but when you realize you're inviting 10-12 ladies over the age of 80, and you want them to keep it a surprise for 2 weeks, it's quite the task.
First, I made invitations. It took some coordinating with Brian in regards to Archer and some fast crafting to get them all done but I'm happy I was able to contribute. And, of course I didn't think to take any pictures but they were along the same lines of these invitations I made to the Ladies Luncheon at our old apartment two years ago. They were blue instead of pink and had lots of cheery pastels to welcome spring.
So the amazing thing is that this was kept a secret from Granny. I think we can definitely attribute this to all the daughters who reminded their mothers daily NOT to call Iola (my Granny) and talk about the party. Especially considering how excited everyone was for the day! Granny did not find out until the evening before, when my mom and Aunt Kate showed up at her house and started rearranging the furniture. They decided to keep the guest list as the final surprise, and it was so fun to watch when the guests began to arrive. Everyone was carded at the door of course to make sure they were over 80. Granny was very surprised at some of the women who were able to make it! And I had such a good time watching them interact. Not everyone is able to get out of the house much these days, or go to church every week which is where they usually would have been able to catch up. And even though not everyone knew each person really well, they all found many connections and people in common (which no doubt happens in any small town).
|Norma and Elaine|
|Granny (on the left) and Elaine|
|Alta, Octa, Mary Linda and Lola Jane|
|Seek and Lora|
What was really wonderful is how much time my Mom and Aunt Kate put into decorating Granny's house and making sure everything looked beautiful and springy. Granny loved the table especially.
|Continuing the pastel theme.|
|Even the candy coordinated!|
After everyone had time to visit for a bit we started lunch. On the menu: a chicken and vegetable soup, sandwiches (chicken salad, ham salad and pimiento cheese) with chips, pickles and deviled eggs. As you can see in the photos below, it is 1) very hard to get everyone in one shot. And 2) We thought everyone looked so lovely. You could tell they were ready for spring and looked the part in their beautiful pastels.
Aunt Kate, Mom and I were encouraging the ladies to start on their soup while it was nice and hot (boiling hot, actually). Feeling chastised, we finally realized they were waiting on everyone to have their soup so they could PRAY. Whoops! Octa said the prayer and it was very lovely. I wanted to take a picture because the understanding that of course there would be a prayer before the meal is something I love about Mentor and the amazing people that live there or grew up there. I thought that might be a little frowned upon so I've got the mental picture instead.
I had to get a picture of mom's awesome pastel deviled eggs. They potentially kept her out of a speeding ticket when she was pulled over rushing home after midnight to make them the night before the party.
I did most of the serving for lunch and LOVED it. I miss serving so much sometimes. You meet wonderful people, have wonderful conversations and I honestly just enjoy making people happy. I like to anticipate what people need before they need it so they never really have to ask for anything throughout their meal. It was nice to be back in the swing of things refilling drinks before being asked and clearing dishes as soon as they were empty. I even caught myself saying "absolutely" and "my pleasure"--Cheesecake Factory habits die hard!!
After lunch it was time for coffee, hot tea and Aunt Kate's beautiful pastel desserts with vanilla ice cream!
|Mom got these beautiful cups and saucers at a thrift store! Nice find!!|
|Mom's crackle plates from Great Aunt Celeste on the right.|
|Lemon cake with a lemon cream filling.|
|Strawberry Ice-Box pie. I've never had anything like this--the texture is crazy!! Can't wait to try and make it.|
|Key Lime pie.|
|Aunt Cherry on the phone!|
One thing that was fun for me to listen to was all the stories. These ladies have been around for awhile and have so many memories together. At one point mom went around the table and asked them all their ages (I think when you get to a certain point that's not considered rude anymore). She asked who was the youngest and there was a chorus of "Oh probably me" from most everyone there. For the record, Elaine is the oldest at 91 this year and Cordie was the youngest at 83.
A couple funny stories I heard:
They all used to go sledding and ROLLERSKATING down Smith Road. If you have been on the hairpin turns of Smith Road you understand why this is awesome and terrifying. I guess there would be a scout at the bottom watching for cars and you'd go all the way down the hill and across the road.
Someone told a story about an unopened can of sardines being put in the oven while some Moms were visiting one day. The oven was turned on and they exploded! They spent a good deal of time trying to remember who that was (someone who was not present!).
Granny put some eggs on to boil once and then went across the street to talk to Hattie. She forgot all about the eggs and came home to egg shells on the ceiling!
I loved listening to them all interact. They've been friends for so long. Lola Jane gave Granny a card and inside wrote "thanks for 79 years of friendship." 79 years. Let that sink in. Can you imagine? How amazing. I have some friends that I know without a doubt I'll be saying that to one day if we're all lucky enough to be around that long. Think of the things you can experience and know about one another after a friendship of so many years.
Here is a picture that was given to Granny of her high school graduating class. She's on the far left. Lola Jane is in the middle with the darkest hair:
Here is Granny and Lola Jane at the party:
I had the random idea to make sure to get a picture of Granny with each of the guests. They all turned out so well!
Here's a photo of me, mom, Aunt Kate and Granny. What a fun day!
|Amanda stopped by and helped do some dishes.|
|Cousin Theresa stayed to help and thank goodness for that. She helped serve and did a ton of dishes and cleaning up!!|
And Brian was nice enough to bring Archer down to visit Granny on her birthday as well. Too bad he was being a teething cranky pants!! He's pretty cute though so he's generally forgiven for his bad days. :)
|He doesn't look too sure about his Great Aunt Kate!|
And finally, I'll leave you with a pretty funny image from the day. This is what you get when there's 10 women over 80 at one gathering!
Granny I love you and hope you had a wonderful birthday!!