NINETY-NINE CANDLES

NINETY-NINE CANDLES
By: Darrelyn L. Tutt

Today is a celebration of my mother-in-law Stell's 99th birthday.
I've been asked to get her all "dolled-up" for the day, so some time in the nursing home will be ours in just a few hours, and then we'll head to a Community center in town where the party will begin.
All of Stell's eleven children will be present along with many of their kids and grands.
The day is one of much anticipation.
A special dress has been laid out and I've got a few necessities in tow:
A curling iron to spruce up a beautiful head of soft white hair, a soft rose blush for her tender round cheeks, and a soft coral to make her lips pop.
Two coats of coral (favorite color) nail polish will be applied, and then I'll line her up in front of a vertical mirror where she'll fuss a wee bit more, put a few strands of hair in place, and then we'll walk out the door.
The day will be beautiful.
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We'll arrive at the Community center in style and all of Stell's children will be waiting, except Dawn who passed away this past Memorial weekend. Her absense will be keenly felt and she will, undoubtedly, be a subject of much conversation.
Several of the boys will be waiting at the door and get her comfortably situated in her wheelchair. She'll let them fuss over her and love every little minute of it.
Stell's boys "can do no wrong" and have always landed with a little extra favor according to the girls.
For some little reaon, I think I have too, but let's not tell anyone.
Shhh ....
Exclamations on her "loveliness" will be hers throughout the day and a large "Happy Birthday" will be her greeting. She'll chuckle and ask teasingly who's birthday we're celebrating, and the party will start in Stella style.
Food will line the long tables against the wall and "buffet style" will be an accommodating factor throughout the day for the hungry and wandering. Ha.
Chicken, chicken, and more chicken, followed with potato salad, coleslaw, beans, chips, and veggie trays, and enough desserts to last to Christmas will line the tables.
A large birthday cake with her name emblazened on it will be the "finale" on the end of the table, and probably a few candles for photo reasons.
Stell will do a little "drive-by" and splurge on all her favorites throughout the day while enjoying conversations with all her children.
She'll doze off and on throughout the day;
 repeat the same stories and listen to her children's stories.
She'll hold great grandchildren, and exclaim over the "growing up" others.
By 3:30 she'll be exhausted and we'll all know it's time to call it a day.
A perfect "ninety-nine" day.
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We'll pack up, say our good-bye's, and I'll listen to conversation between mother and son from the backseat all the way home.
Then she'll get home and rest,
lie her head on her pillow,
and rehearse the beautiful day.
Ninety-nine candles.
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