Jonnie Sue and I were able to join in the celebration of the birthday of the eldest of our three newest granddaughters, Catherine, who turned five on Saturday. We headed down to Lexington Park in St. Mary’s County, Maryland, right after church on Sunday for the birthday party that afternoon. It was a beach party since she lives about 100 yards from a broad sandy beach on the edge of the Chesapeake Bay The low, gentle waves were just perfect for her and her two year old sister, Rose. The youngest, six month old Charlotte, even got her feet wet a time or two. The grove of pine trees behind us provided shade in the afternoon for those of us enjoying the occasion from our lawn chairs, unlike the unrelenting sun on the beaches of my childhood on the coast of the Gulf of Mexico.
Also there to celebrate the occasion were her other grandfather, a great uncle, an uncle and his fiance, and a long time friend and coworker of her father’s at St. Mary’s College. Of course, some of Cathy’s and Rose’s playmates from the neighborhood were there too. We had pizza and watermelon, followed by the star of the feast, her mother’s homemade ice cream cake, right there on the beach. The laughter and squeals of children filled the air all day. Cathy was doted upon by her friends and family and made the center of attention.
The next day being Labor Day, we stayed over and enjoyed a big family breakfast with everyone the next morning. It was at once simple and joyous, relaxed and poignant; a beautiful family time together.
“Almighty God, our heavenly Father, who sets the solitary in families. We commend to your continual care the homes in which your people dwell. Put far from them, we pray, every root of bitterness, the desire of vainglory, and the pride of life. Fill them with faith, virtue, knowledge, temperance, patience, and godliness. Knit together in constant affection those who in holy wedlock have been made one flesh. Turn the hearts of the parents to the children, and the hearts of the children to the parents, and so enkindle fervent charity among us all, that we may evermore be kindly affectioned one to another, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
BCP, page 828.
Ron Hicks, Parish Verger, St. Alban’s Episcopal Church, Washington DC, 8-September-2015.