By Elaine Carlson

June was a party month. Two cousins invited me to their mother's 100th Birthday Party in Sacramento on June 5. About the same time I also got an invitation for a Baby Shower for my sister's daughter on June 19 south of San Francisco.

The cousins went all out to plan the perfect 100th Birthday Celebration. Their idea was to start the party with a parade followed by a luncheon. And when all that is out of the way have singing and dancing. And I guess have refreshments. A luncheon is nice but should not be be a complete replacement for refreshments. And that is my opinion.

Everything was meticulously thought out. A friend would pick up Aunt Esther in a fully restored 1927 buggy convertible. All the party goers who wanted to follow in the parade were directed to be at a parking lot at 9:45 AM. And of course the destination was the party.

I got an Evite to the Baby Shower. It was the first Evite I had ever received. And never before have I encountered such an organized and efficient prelude to a party. Of course it set out the time and the place. But it also included the notice that my niece was listed in Amazon's Registry and that shipping is free on purchases over $25. And then there was a place to respond to say yes you would be going, no you couldn't make it, or even if you are not sure if you will be able to go.

The Evite also had a Guess the Particulars Contest with Two Parts --- guesses for the day the baby would be born and her weight (they had already found out that they were going to have a girl). I didn't send back any guesses so the Evite computer generated two guesses for me. They sent out notices every time someone entered the contest – both ways. So I got a lot of mail. Neither of my entrees won and I never followed through to find out what prizes the winners got.

No one in our family (our father was Aunt Esther's older brother) was able to go to the party or to the shower. At first both my sister and brother were thinking about going. But they had already made plans for other trips – my sister to Mexico and our brother to Costa Rica. They decided not to ditch those plans (and lose the money they had already spent). And I thought it would just be too difficult to make a trip to California before the pandemic is over. My sister felt bad about missing the shower but she is so generous there is very little for her daughter to grumble about.

The Sacramento party had a good turnout – 40 people. A cousin and his sister (their mother was Aunt Esther's younger sister) made it. When considering their children and the children of their children and partners they provided a big crowd. And other relatives came (I have difficulties with family trees but I think the children and grandchildren of Aunt Esther's cousins). But not all guests were relatives. Some of the people who had gone to the same church as Aunt Esther and Uncle Bill made it.

Pretty soon I realized people who don't go to a shower can still give a present to the mother-to-be. I don't remember how I made the decision but I thought I would send my niece a diaper bag. I felt anxiety big time. Just exactly how is someone suppose to go about picking a diaper bag from all the ones for sale? I told myself not to fret too much and just buy one. I did and had it shipped to her house. It cost me $35 and I hope she got it. Right now I am nostalgic for the old days when it was customary for people to write thank you letters.

It was kind of funny but I got a lot of reports of the party but none of them talked about the food. I am sure what was served was fine because I think the general rule is that you only hear about culinary disasters.

From everything I heard the party was good. But there were a few differences from parties that we generally accept as being a success. Everybody said that Aunt Esther always knew a lot of people there but that she didn't know that they were there for her. And she never spoke. But when everybody sang "When You Wear A Tulip" she joined in.

I am happy my aunt and my niece had good parties. And of course I feel bad I couldn't be there for either one. But I don't have to despair. My niece has a younger sister and it is possible (likely?) she will have a baby before too long. So I might get the chance to go to a niece's baby shower. And if there ever is one and part of the planned socializing is to sing "When You Wear A Tulip" I don't have to worry about singing it out of tune – I don't know that song.

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