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Sunday, February 20, 2011


My older son's birthday is near the end of April. He's a grown man now but when he was seven, he wanted to have his birthday party outside. That idea seemed great to me for he had invited about twenty boys the same age as him and his younger brother would be there. Although I was teaching at the time and managing to keep thirty students in tow, there was nothing worse than having twenty-plus little boys inside the house!

The cake had been bought the day before the party as had the ice cream, paper plates, plastic cups and the usual birthday party things.

The day of his birthday party was a beautiful sunny and warm one. And the mothers or fathers of the boys,who had been invited, came dropping them off ; soon the front yard was full of little boys everywhere.
I had set up some tables out in the yard and on the carport, a friend [I was lucky to have had some reinforcement help!] and I nailed a big plastic "Pin the Tail on the Donkey" to the wall of the house.

The boys were playing the usual games that are played at birthday parties when all of a sudden a huge wind came blowing around: It was so windy that the "Donkey" blew down the street, never to be seen again.
Not only did the gutsy wind prevail but then came torrents of rain--it came down in sheets! What to do?
There was only one answer: Bring all of the boys, my sons included, and take them downstairs to the recroom. Picture the sight of twenty-two boys and two women in charge: It was mayhem! It was chaos!
Turning on the tv didn't help matters one bit. These boys wanted to party.

The cake, ice cream and all of the other things were taken downstairs by my girlfriend and me in shifts.
Then the "teacher-mode" struck me: I had to plan something to get these boys settled down.. But what?
My mind was in a whir till I remembered that there was an older boy who lived down the street: Not only was he a frequent visitor in my house but he also knew magic tricks! Thank heavens he answered the phone when I called him. He could sense my hysterics. And yes, he came up in the torrential rain and was loaded up with his things he used for the magic tricks.

When he and I went downstairs, I announced that he would be doing magic tricks. All of the little boys were wowed and when he started his magic tricks, a hush fell over the room. He had saved the day!
I don't think I had ever been so thankful in my life.

Every year on my older son's birthday, I think back to that time of chaos and a miracle.
As for the "donkey," he was never seen again as I had stated. I chose the above picture for I'm sure that's how that donkey felt. But he was released from the blindfold and the ropes and was flung into oblivion.

Sherry Hill

Picture from Parsons Family Design Studio

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