While all eyes of the world may have been turned towards Beijing last night, our family was celebrating the Lucky 8 in an extra special way. My paternal grandmother Adeline Kleven Seely Proctor celebrated 88 years of life on the 8th day of the 8th month of the 08th year!
She got a lot of well-deserved attention over this unusual and special event, also! Two television stations interviewed her, a local radio station did a broadcast from her living room, and she even got a nice mention in one of the major newspapers. Finally she exclaimed, “Well, I feel so spoiled, I really am getting embarrassed!” (But of course, we know she secretly was eating it all up!)
Grandma Adeline is one of the most social and funny women on the planet. She loves to party, play games, tell stories, and laugh. Lots and lots of laughing! Which is good, because she has carried her share of sorrows, including the loss of her parents, all of her siblings, many dear friends and two beloved husbands. She told the reporters today that the secret to life is “Be happy, enjoy life, see the beauty around you and don’t worry too much about things, you know! Worry doesn’t help” She also says it doesn’t hurt to be Norwegian – because “We don’t age”.
Next, for the unplanned humor: The Birthday Cake. My cousin, aunts and I carefully placed (approximately) 88 candles in Adeline’s birthday cake. Then, with a long torch lighter, one of the men took pleasure lighting all of them. We turned around and … no Adeline. As it turns out, she had gone to the bathroom. Well, there we were with the 88 candles burning (a small fire, really) and grandma is taking an unscheduled rest stop. Now, I realize that when you are 88 years old, you are certainly allowed to spend as much time as you like in the powder room. But it becomes quite inconvenient when your birthday candles are ablaze!
The photos tell the story better than I can…it was not long before the candles had burned down to cake level. The frosting roses ignited first, so we quickly made the decision to rescue the rest by unceremoniously blowing grandma’s candles out.
We got word right about then that Grandma was headed back and eager to blow out her candles! We frantically started pulling off all the mangled wax stubs, and reinserting new candles into the empty holes (quite a bit of wax had to be picked off carefully in order to reopen some of the candle holes). Once again, the candles were in place, the torch was lit and I led the group in singing a loud and energetic “Happy Birthday” song!
From the photos, it looks like poor grandma was in serious danger trying to blow out all those flames! But she did it! (with a little help from her “lucky 8” great-grandchildren!)
We were treated with authentic Island dancing – and the crowning event was a fire dance by one of the lead fire dancers from the Polynesian Culture Center who happened to be in town this week (lucky again) and is the twin brother of the family who was entertaining us. So, we got a really dazzling show!
Beijing may have had singing, and dancing and laughter and fire and tender moments – but our family didn’t miss any of that last night! We had it all and more at grandma’s Lucky 88th Birthday Luau.