The 70th Birthday...

Down the stairs I walk – carefully – got my red, peep-toed, three inch, high heeled patent red shoes on! Got to be careful at my age! I arrive at the bottom safely….

…I peep through the glass fronted door into my sister’s home…everything is in readyness…

She’s turning 70 this week! A special occasion…always given to hospitality, she has made the rooms of her home look beautiful. She is a potter and her artwork is in many corners of her living area. Beautiful paintings (some I still can’t quite figure out what they mean…), icons, pots large and small, unusual lamps abound in this space. Along one wall, about 5 metres long and up to the ceilings are shelves of books. The round dining table is already laid for lunch with candles and jasmine sprays…so fragrant…

Comfy couches face each other across a quaint rustic stool laden with flowers, pottery and cupcakes and are right next to the large concertina glass doors that open onto the deck…

The deck is tiled with large grey tiles, topped with a brushed aluminium glass topped table and matching chairs. A cute potted lemon tree boasts an abundance of plump, bright lemons. Along one side of the deck is a large old weather worn ‘meat safe’ which now serves as a place to store pottery cups, plates and bowls made by my sister. The deck boasts a variety of potted plants and in the middle of them sits a pottery lady, with her arms relaxed and legs curled under her. She’s beautiful. A cute terracotta cherub nestles in the shade of the lemon tree.

Five of us sisters gather today to celebrate our second eldest sister’s 70th birthday. It makes me stop to think. We are all getting into those last years of our lives. Our father died at 72, but then mum kept on going and celebrated her 95th before giving in. We are all strong women…will we have another 30 years in us?

Morning tea is shared sitting on the two facing couches – we chat, drink coffee, eat the cute little cup cakes and laughter fills the room. It’s comfortable; we are all bound by blood…and by memories of our parents, our lives, and all have slightly different angles on the same events…that’s the way it is…it makes it more interesting…

Lunch: the round table is laid with gleaming silverware, lovely plates,candles and tall wine glasses. Jasmin flowers are scattered over the white tablecloth.
A simple salad of a variety of greens; crusty bread; spinach and feta cheese baked in filo pastry inside home potted ramekins. A fruity glass of champers adds to the festive atmosphere. We all enjoy the food and each other. Dessert is gorgeous fresh fruit drenched in sweet red juice, topped with Cassata and whipped cream. We are sated and will enjoy a cup of tea a little later…

My sister, who’s turning 70 has recently regained the figure of her youth and brings out a stack of clothes she can no longer wear…my sisters rummage around in the pile and laughingly try things on, while I turn away and do the dishes. No point me even looking at them – none of them will fit me.

It’s fun washing up the beautiful old cups, saucers and plates; a nice change from the dishwasher. It’s a lovely kitchen; modern, but rustic at the same time. White tiles, white cupboards, white walls that are hung with a collection of plates. Mostly old dainty plates – some interited from her European in-laws and our mum. Some have sayings in strange languages, but all are quaint or beautiful, changing the feel of that modern space.
One of the ‘girls’ comes and helps with the drying and we chat about ‘this and that’…

The minutes go slowly, as we all bask in the love we have for one another. Oh, don’t worry, we have our moments, we are all European born and can really go for it at times, but today…no today there is peace and harmony…and it’s good.

My youngest sis and I, well we love taking pics and here in our sister’s home there are so many photo opportunities, that we get our trusty cams out, to the extent that our dear hostess wonders what on earth we are doing taking so many photos around her home. We snap and snap, til we’re done.

Afternoon tea – Steaming hot milky tea in wonderfully dainty teacups, chocolates, turkish delight and more tiny shortbread cup cakes. Afterwards we ring our sister in Europe; the only one of the six who isn’t here. We wake her from her sleep and learn that her puss died the day before and she still needs to bury him. She is sad as both her cats have now gone, and they were good companions for her… We all commisserate with her as we take turns on the phone.

Time has come to go… We hug and kiss one another, and noisily traips up the stairs to the street above. We are such a noisy lot, even in our senior years…but we are young at heart. Really nothing has changed except our aging bodies.

We are young women, full of life, trapped in bodies that are aging, that at times don’t behave as we would like them to …but our spirits are strong, our bodies still move and go where we tell them to go. We’re alive!

Aaahhh there is nothing like family….. I drive off. My eldest sister is with me. We look at each other and smile…"What a lovely day’ we say.

I feel warm and happy still….even now…

The 70th Birthday...

Tricia Holmes

Brisbane, Australia

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…I peep through the glass fronted door into my sisters home…everything is in readyness…

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