…When called to the table, my sister-in-law Jamie commented on how “fancy” it looked. I had covered the glass top with a round jacquard satin cloth. Matching napkins, a footed silver salt and pepper set and silver candlesticks that weren’t too tall or too tippy added to the ambience. Grape colored candles were the perfect complement!
The meal was received well. Neither Jamie nor I cared that Tony stirred everything together into a mash on his plate. The meatballs didn’t require a knife to cut them into bite-sizes, and the kale was sliced and diced small. Mealtime mechanics were kept to a minimum. The sturdy water glasses with a wide base were ugly and plain, crystal ones would have looked lovely. The risk existed of Tony grasping too hard, snapping the stem, or knocking one over; it was best to keep the hazards reduced for a hopefully uneventful meal. It took all of Tony’s concentration to focus on the intricacies of capturing, cutting and chewing without mishap!
I cleared the main course dishes in preparation for the dessert and birthday candles. Mincemeat tarts with whipped cream were to be the finale, Tony’s favorite sweet treat!
There was a brief lull while I readied the presentation – and I clumsily plopped a dollop of cream over the edge of the tart as I tried to hurry things along. Tony was a fan of the Maple Leafs hockey team consistently for more than sixty years; a televised hockey game was scheduled to start shortly.
I dimmed the chandelier and cleared my throat audibly, lit the candles and began to sing aloud. “Happy Birthday to you” began with a quaver, and then Jamie joined in with pleasure as I set the plate of tarts before Tony. He looked perplexed – “Who’s having a birthday?” he enquired.
Jamie looked stricken; she realized suddenly just how many missing links there were. I just smiled and patted his shoulder. “Blow out the candles and make a wish. It’s your birthday, Tony.” “Can I have two tarts?” he asked with a grin…