My Dad’s 40th Birthday, In Pictures

I know what you’re thinking.

“How can her DAD be forty, when she is in her late forties??”

First of all, he isn’t forty anymore, and second of all I am forty-five which is SOLIDLY in the mid-forties, so shhhh.

To celebrate his birthday TODAY I am going to tell you about the celebration that is most memorable in my mind, which was in 1982, his fortieth.

Of course, that was a long time ago for all of us and because I only remember certain major points of the story, I’m adding drawings for your added entertainment.

We lived in Knoxville, Tennessee at the time and my mom had decided to throw a surprise party for Dad. My sister was nine and I was nearly fourteen. Our aunt, uncle, and cousins were driving down from Chicago to see our new house for the first time, and of course be there for the party.

Before the party and naturally while Dad was working, I helped Mom make his cake. It was huge and had a hill on it, for the popular and not-very-funny-to-those-of-us-in-our-forties “Over the Hill” theme. It was covered in bright green buttercream icing (the color of grass) and other than “40”, I don’t remember what else, if anything, was on that cake but it probably looked like this:

Cake before

That evening, my parents went out to eat with my aunt and uncle, leaving all of us kids at home (with our three Dachshunds, Dapple, Willie, and Sandy). The plan was, naturally, that we kids would greet the party guests and then when Dad came home from dinner he would be surprised, it would be a great party, the end.


Once the adults left, I can’t remember exactly what we were all doing, but my sister was hanging out with our cousin Aaron who is three months younger than her, and I was hanging out with our cousin Brian, who is a year older than I.

Less than an hour went by and the younger two ran in to find us.

“Dapple’s eating the cake! Dapple’s eating the cake!!!!!”

Dapple's eating the cake!

Brian and I followed them quickly to the dining room, where we found our eleven-pound miniature Dachshund on the dining room table, her snout full of bright green frosting as she continued to work her way down to the actual cake part. She had managed to jump onto a chair and maneuver herself onto the table where the cake rested, completely safe from miniature-sized animals (or so we thought). We were shocked.

We were expecting guests in an hour, and our dog had demolished most of one side of the cake. We were at a loss as to what we should do, so I picked up the phone to call my mom at the restaurant.

By the way, I had to do this old school style, by actually calling the restaurant, from our corded kitchen wall-mounted phone.

corded kitchen wall phone

Mom came to the phone and I told her what had happened, and she told me how I was about to make lemonade out of the lemons we had been given.

“Here’s what I want you to do. Take the cake into the kitchen, and carefully cut off anything that was touched by Dapple. After you do that, cut off another quarter inch in those areas, just to be safe. THEN make more frosting and touch it up.”

I vividly remember thinking, “LADY? ARE YOU CRAZY??” but we were in crisis mode so I knew that I had to follow her instructions and fix the cake.

The four of us ran into the kitchen and worked together to get that cake trimmed up and the frosting made while my mom went back to her table and proceeded to tell my dad, aunt, and uncle that I called because my sister had the worst kind of stomach issues and couldn’t get out of the bathroom.

As it turned out and predictably so, Dapple was the one with the worst kind of stomach issues, and suddenly she was spewing bright green vomit all over the foyer and carpeted stairs. We had to divide and conquer: clean up vomit/fix cake.

Can I tell you how difficult it is to match the color green when you’re mixing it yourself, you’re under pressure, and the dog is vomiting profusely in the next room? IT IS HARD.

Long story short, Dapple eventually stopped being sick long enough for us to clean everything up completely, the cake looked terrible but was at least completely covered in icing again, Dad was surprised, and the guests had no idea about the chaos of the last hour as they devoured that cake with ice cream on the side.

Cake After

It was completely awful and disgusting…and one of my favorite memories ever.

Happy birthday dad!