Saturday – Birthday Celebration

Martin:   Rachel tells the most of this story, but I add a personal note at the end:

Rachel:  Saturday morning I woke up with a plan to wash clothes and do some other things before going to Uncle John’s birthday party. We left a little before 2 pm and stopped and bought some Plant City strawberries to share with John and the family, and three mangos to bring back to eat later.  We also bought a bouquet of flowers to add to the festivities. 

 

John Lehman, 93rd birthday

John Lehman, 93rd birthday

We arrived at Royal Palms Retirement Center and my cousin Denny was waiting at the door for us.  We went upstairs and found the small one room residence filled with John and Sally, Ruth, Denny and Mary, his “main squeeze,” as John calls her.  Dad and I were glad to see everyone.  John did his best to display his usual gruffness while being really happy.  Sally was also happy in spite of her dementia and asking many questions over and over.  Denny is a year older and Ruth is a year younger than I am.   

 

John and Salley

John and Salley

In October of 2011 Denny’s wife Mary died of cancer.  He was with us in March for Mom’s Florida memorial and the marks of grief were in his face and eyes.  Now he is in a new relationship, he’s happy and that shows.  It was so good to be with my two Lehman cousins.  We all agreed that we wished Conrad were also with us.

 

Rachel, John Dennis, and Ruth Ann Lehman

Rachel, John Dennis, and Ruth Ann Lehman

We visited awhile and then went out to Fisherman’s village for an early seafood dinner.  I ordered similarly to most others at the table—broiled sea scallops!  Delish!!!  There was a small band singing fifties and sixties music pretty loud so we couldn’t do much talking but John was happy.  Ruth had brought small cheese cake slices of various kinds in a small round cake shape with “93” in candles on the top for him to blow out.  Perfect!We went back then and took a few photos before Ruth, Dad and I headed back to Sarasota.  It was so good to sit and chat with Ruth over tea before bed!

Martin: Ruth told us that when she was alone with her Dad she asked him if he  was happy with his birthday party.  He said he was so happy he could cry.  When I said goodbye to him I leaned over to kiss him and said “I love you.”  He smiled broadly and responded, “I love you.”  I thought it was a secret between us, but both Rachel and Ruth said that they saw and heard.

About Martin Lehman

I was born 92 years ago, the son of a Mennonite pastor and organic gardener in Franklin County, Pennsylvania. At age 10 I was baptized as a member of the Marion Mennonite Church. I own the "Old Fool" moniker because I want to walk the Jesus Way even though the world and much of the church takes me as a fool for doing so. In my life I have moved from being a young conservative to an elderly radical. I tell that story in My Faith Journey posted on my website.
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2 Responses to Saturday – Birthday Celebration

  1. Eunice (Lehman) Esch says:

    Oh, wow, I am so excited to see this picture of Dennis, Ruth Ann and Rachel! I wonder if they remember a time , maybe more, when I came down to play with them while they were visiting their Grandparents ,my Uncle Irvins?? It”s been sooooo many years!!
    Enjoy your highlights…….thanks (Walter’s youngest daughter) eunice

    • Sorry I did catch your reply until this morning. Do you know that on the day you were born my brother John took your brother Aldus to Greencastle to register for the draft and me to catch the train to go to CPS camp at Grottoes, Virginia? I’ve told Rachel about your comment and she said she will reply personally

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