Our dad loved his birthday and today just happens to be July 30 – practically a national holiday in the Ruffner household. A fuss was made, particularly after his three daughters geographically scattered and grandchildren arrived. “Boppa’s Birthday” was the focal point of the summer.
His mother started it. He was an only child, born twelve years into the marriage of his parents – enough said. Here’s an invitation to the first “formal” party held to honor the occasion – his 4th birthday in 1920. 32 invited friends – and he wasn’t even in school yet!
Hard to top that, but we went with props (thanks to the leadership of oldest sister.) There were special shirts in 1985. During a routine backyard picnic, we staged our change-of-clothes until we were all dressed in blue, and even he couldn’t help but notice.
Ten years later, a picture from that year was reproduced on a shirt; here he is with the only grandchild who arrived after the blue-shirt birthday:
The following year, his 80th birthday celebrated in Lewes, Delaware, it was another special shirt, “I’m the Birthday Boy”:
In 1998, oldest sister brought a crown and a granddaughter, really upping the ante:
Of course, a stunning present, like this Pittsburgh Penguins jacket, was always a show-stopper:
We had a very special birthday in 2000, our last one on Burton Street, with extended family and gatherings at home (check out the flag!) and at the golf club, where a crown is always appropriate:
At Passavant Retirement Community in Zelienople, we added the funny paper plates:
But the biggest moment every year was always the birthday cake candle photo-op.
No more commentary, but enjoy the progression, from the grainy early shot from the 1970s to his last birthday in 2008 – the cake is right next to his glass of Guinness and he is once again accompanied by his youngest grandchild.
Happy Birthday, Boppa/Daddy/Jim. Cake and Guinness all around!