Happy Birthday, Dorothy
Author’s note: This is sort of an antidote to my story, “The old man at the window.” Please join me in this little look into a possible future for some old broad named Dorothy Colleen....
It was Dorothy’s birthday, and the whole extended care facility was buzzing with anticipation.
In the year or so since she arrived at the facility due to losing her mobility, she had become a favorite to nurses, aides, and residents alike. Not many people were immune to her smile, her tendency to hug anyone willing to take one, her infectious laugh, or the way she adopted the people around her into her family, making everyone who wanted to be into a son or daughter.
Her daughter Samantha and her family came early and helped change the dining room into Birthday Central, with pink streamers and balloons hung in every corner. The center table was piled with presents, some of them having spent long trips in the mail to arrive in time for the occasion, and a large chocolate cake had been made and iced with the best wishes from those who loved Dorothy, which was nearly anyone who spent any time around her.
The guest of honor knew full well what was going on, but she pretended to be unaware to honor everyone’s hard work. Instead, she typed away on a laptop in her room, which was crammed with mementoes, pictures, and books. A Drea DiMaggio paperback sat on the nightstand, signed by the authoress herself, and beside the pile of notes that sat by the laptop was a couple of books that were the pride of her small collection - because she had been the author of them.
Finally, all was prepared, and her daughter Samantha came and wheeled Dorothy into the dining room, where her family and the whole staff sang “Happy Birthday” and then cheered.
After opening the presents, Dorothy surrendered to the calls of “Speech! Speech!” Dorothy carefully wheeled her chair forward and promised she wouldn’t keep people from the cake long, which got a laugh. Then she thanked each person who helped make the party possible, and ended by saying “Lastly, I want to thank my family. I havent always been the easiest person to put up with, especially when the female hormones started really kicking in, but you’ve stood by me through it all. Bless each and every one of you.”
With her speech over, everyone moved to enjoy the cake, and her family took photos of the birthday girl and her “loot.” with a smile on her face that shone with all the love she had for those who loved her.
A smile she would continue to have, right until her dying day.
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