Tuesday, October 06, 2009

A Gift of Love

My birthday is just around the corner.

It's a big one too -will make me really eligible to be in the "Old-timer's Club" ya know.

That aspect is no big deal as far as I am concerned. Just another day really, ya know except that this one is the 65th anniversary since I entered the world. I have no big plans for celebrating the occasion, don't want my kids to go spend a bunch of money on things they think I would like or need.

I told Mandy -who had the idea that perhaps she and her husband, her brother and I guess his girl friend, perhaps the older daughter too, could take me out for dinner as some posh place over in State College. I vetoed that idea -not my cup of tea.

Yes, that would be nice, certainly. But if they want to spend money for the occasion, I told her I would much rather have a gift certificate to my favorite online crafts establishment -Herrschnerrs -so I could apply that money then towards purchasing items I'd like to have and be able then to pick up stuff when it is on sale -which is usually about the time I am broke ya know. The best sales are always available it seems when I have the least amount of funds that I can use ojn the stuff. Murphy and his damned law seem to be the one that my life has always -probably always will I suppose -revolve around!

But anyway, that isn't what I'm writing about tonight. Not the potential of gifts from my kids but rather to tell you about a gift I did receive today.

I got a birthday card on Saturday in the mail -the first, in honor of this occasion -and it was from the law firm that represented me in my disability hearing for Social Security. Nice of them to remember me with that little card five years after the fact I guess.

But today, Mandy brought a card home for me and I knew with a glance at the return address that it was a card from my sweet, thoughtful cousin, Ruth Ann, down in Texas. I opened it, read the card and yes, I was right.

But inside the card there was something else. A little note, wrapped around a photograph.

I looked very quickly at the photos and saw it was a man holding a baby. Obviously it was a baby girl too because there was this big old bonnet-type hat, with the old-fashioned brim. At first I thought the man in the photo was Ruth Ann's brother, Jay and maybe he was holding one of his daughters. But when I flipped the photo over, there was nothing on the back of it to identify the people.

That's when I realized the paper around the photo was actually a note from Ruth Ann to me and it was about this picture.

Seems while she was organizing her belongings -having just moved the end of August from Alabama to the San Antonio area of Texas -she found this photo in a box and realizing who it was on the picture, she went and had a copy made to send to me.

The people on the picture you see were her at about six months of age and it was my Dad who was holding her!

I never knew my Dad. He saw me one time when I was 10 days old and he died when I was 17 days old of stomach cancer.

Although I did have some old, rather small, very faded pictures of him taken on a couple trips he had made out west -to Montana to visit his Dad's family there back in the 30s, I really had very few photographs of my dad that were nice, clear pictures.

And this one filled the bill in that respect!

My eyes filled with tears as I took the picture to show it to Amanda -my younger daughter here.

One look at it and then at me and she knew right away then who this man was!

All she could do was sit there and stare at the photo of her grandfather and it literally took her breath away momentarily. When she did speak, she marveled at the likeness of her brother to this man.

Oh my yes! My son does look so much like his grandfather! That much is for certain. He also looks a lot like his father too and the funny thing is that my youngest aunt often used to remark to me that my ex-husband sometimes reminded her of my Dad.

I have one other picture of my dad, taken around 1918 or 1919 and it is supposed to be my youngest aunt at about 18 months old, seated in a sled with big handles on the back for pushing it along in the snow and it is my Dad standing behind her on that photo, holding onto those handlebars.

On that picture, there are so many traits too that most everyone who knows my son can see immediately and know then that this is some relative of his.

There is the cut of my dad's hair, the way he is standing, the slightly unkempt appearance of his shirttail not tucked in neatly and then, there is also the look in his eyes and the faint smile on his face -all things you can see in this photo and you can bring up an image of my son, Clayton, being the one standing behind that sled.


Another funny thing about that really old picture too is that if you look at my aunt, seated on that sled, see her face and if I were to lay down a picture of me at about 6 months, of my older daughter at about 4 months, of my older grandson when he was a baby, of Maya when she was a baby and a toddler -you can see certain family traits shining right straight through from my aunt to me to my daughter and down to my grandchildren! Yep. You can pick up the resemblances cutting across four generations and not from a direct ancestor but from my aunt, my daughter's great-aunt and the grandchildren's great-great-aunt!

Things like that always amaze me!

And here is the photo I received today. This is what my son would look like if he were dressed in 40s era clothing and it is pretty much how he would react to, if he were holding a baby of about six months who just happened to be his niece too. So many things there that shine -absolutely shine -through of my Dad to the young man -now 36 years old -who is that man's grandson!

Now if that photograph isn't a true gift of love from my cousin to me, I don't know what is!

For me, I do know this.

It is absolutely priceless!


lattégirl said...

A lovely gesture!

Maggie May said...

You must be overjoyed. What a great present and a lovely picture too. He was a handsome man.
Thanks for sharing that.

Nuts in May

Anonymous said...

ABSOLUTELY PRICELESS!!! What a wonderful, wonderful gift to receive.. I love seeing my children in their ancestors.. It's just so comforting to know that the circle of love truly is endless..
And I'm so sorry you lost your Dad when you (and he) were so young...

Suldog said...

That's about as nice a birthday present as you'll receive, I would suppose. Good quality photo.

His hair looks dark, but is there a chance he was a redhead? It looks as though his arm is pretty well freckled like mine are.

Sandi McBride said...

This post made me cry. I'm not sure if it's for happy or sentimentality...I'm so happy for you, Jeni, to have this picture of the man who loves you even now...

Linda said...

I don't think that Ruth Ann could have given you a better gift had she given you a winning lottery ticket - what a lovely thing to receive!

So when exactly is this most auspicious occasion of the 64th anniversary of your first birthday, anyway??

Mary said...


Happy 65th Birthday, my friend. May you be blessed with many more happy, healthy years.

I will be turning the big 60 on Monday the 12th. Seems like yesterday I was just a teen. Where does the time go?

Love the photo. Your Dad was a handsome man. What a precious treasure your cousin sent you.


Travis said...

What a tremendous gift!

terri said...

Happy Birthday, Jeni! What a wonderful gift that picture is, especially knowing how dedicated you are to your family history. Great picture!

Berni said...

Happy birthday Jeni and glad you had such a heart warming surprise.

Anonymous said...

Priceless indeed. A beautiful photograph. How very sad that you never knew your dad. I imagine he has guided and protected you all these years and will be so pleased to know you now have possession of that picture.

CJ xx

TechnoBabe said...

That was a kind and sensitive thing for your cousin to do for you. I am so glad for all of you that you have a clear picture of your father to compare to your son and for you to fill the void in your heart.

Dr.John said...

Sometimes the most priceless things don't cost money.

Dr.John said...

Woops! I forgot to say Happy Birthday so

Minnesotablue said...

Happy Birthday my friend! And I couldn't think of a greater gift than the one you recieved.

Anonymous said...

You have an award waiting for you at my place! C'mon over and claim it!!! =)

Jocelyn said...

Wow. There is no better gift possible; you got a piece of your dad that then tied together all your many pieces. Forget a fancy dinner out...you've had your birthday!

Misty Dawn said...

HAPPY BIRTHDAY, my friend!
What a wonderful gift and a wonderful post!

SnoopMurph said...

Such a thoughtful and beautiful gift to cherish. I hope your birthday celebration continues along with more happiness. :)