“One can never have too large a party.”

According to the Greeting Card Association, “Americans purchase approximately 6.5 billion cards each year.”  They estimate annual retail sales to be somewhere in the vicinity of $7 to $8 billion.  B-I-L-L-I-O-N.  Each time I walk away from the florescent-lit card aisles, I carry with me a piece of paper that is nearly worth its weight in gold.  I’m rarely impressed with what I find as I move from one stack of cards to the next, hoping that there might be one to fit the bill.  I recently decided to move away from the “Grandmother Birthday” section altogether and made a decision based on two things:

1.  Gold sparkles.

2.  Jane Austen.

On the front cover was a quote I didn’t know belonged to the great novelist, but it was certainly suitable for the occasion.

“One can never have too large a party.”

After moving all over the State of Wyoming, raising two children, working season after season to grow fabulous flowers, allowing four of your six grandchildren to live under your roof, getting up at the break of dawn to make the most deliciously gooey cinnamon rolls, pulling out the box of toys one more time for your five great-grandchildren. . . one can never have too large a party.

And so we did.  Saturday afternoon, we gathered around a woman who, to each of us, has a different name:  Mom, Sister, Wife, Grandma, Aunt, and Great Grandma.  Regardless of the title, we share our love for her.

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This woman has a tender heart, gorgeous blue eyes, and a knack for cooking.  Her femininity is paired with strength and an unshakeable faith.

I was eating breakfast with Grandpa one morning during the 2008 Presidential Campaign when he turned from the news to say, “You know, I like that Sarah Palin gal.  She can shoot a gun like Annie Oakley, Bonnie (of Bonnie and Clyde) and. . . your Grandma!”

It’s true.

Dad reminded us all of the time she shot a sage chicken while wearing a dress because he couldn’t hit one.  She grew up riding horses and working hard on the family farm.  I suppose that when you are born in the middle of a blinding dust storm in Oklahoma, you can’t help but to have a little fire in your bones.

Eventually, the noise level in my grandparents’ house settled as twenty five of us turned to eight.  Taking a seat next to the Hubs, I found a comfortable corner of Grandma’s floral sofa.  I’m told that she has always had a thing for couches.  To solidify the point, there is a replacement that is currently en route.

In all of the story telling, cake eating, and laughter, it was truly a party.  A party which I believe Ms. Austen would surely approve.

Happy Birthday, Grandma Peach!  You are loved and celebrated today and always.

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