We love celebrating birthdays at the Frantz house. Over the years they have been honored in gobs of different ways. One of my favorite birthday memories has to be, not so much a specific party, birthday dessert, or even gift, but actually the lack of a memory. Ricky was in middle school at the time. We were both sitting at the kitchen table jotting down a list of invitees for his upcoming soiree. I recall casually asking if he wanted any girls at his birthday celebration. If my memory serves me I’m pretty certain it was not the year of the paint ball extravaganza. It had to be something a tad tamer like maybe laser tag. Remember laser tag? Do kids still do that? I was certainly surprised at his response. “Are you kidding? Boys do not invite girls to their birthday party!” Ricky stated. My usually laidback lad had suddenly become pretty passionate. I reminded him that he certainly did have birthday parties with girls. Ages 3- 4- and 5-years-old immediately came to mind. And what was the matter with girls anyway? But he still swore there was no way a girl was EVER invited to one of HIS birthday parties EVER in the history of his entire life. No way. Even after pulling out a stack of old photographs which included Ricky sitting next to several cute little girls with curly pig tails he refused to acknowledge the possibility. “That is somebody else’s party. Not mine,” Ricky said, his eyes staring a hole through my left eyeball. I just narrowed my own eyes, giggled under my breath, and changed the subject to the all-important party favors. Girls having cooties would probably last another year or so! Fast forward over a decade to the present, our girls blew out candles and clicked over another year in that great book of life. Although four years apart in age, Katie and Mimi’s big day also happens to be just a few days apart. This year we celebrated both on Sunday with Dad poised at the grill, presents and Elmo sugar cookies. Mimi adores Elmo! Gotta admit … he does a mean Chicken Dance. We haven’t always had birthday barbecues. For a number of years, when the kids were mere kidlets, we used to let each pick a local restaurant for their family birthday dinner. Mimi, our special needs daughter, always picked McDonalds, which wasn’t a huge surprise. After “mommy” and “daddy” it was probably the next word she learned how to enunciate. I can still see hubby’s eyes roll when Mimi instantly squealed “Donald’s” after I asked where she wanted to go for her birthday. She had a very limited vocabulary back then, still does, but there was no getting away from the intent of that particular word. And as Supreme Reinforcer of the birthday rules, Mom always made sure the family truckster pulled into her restaurant of choice. “We gotta get Mimi’s speech therapist at school to teach her to say something with a ‘fine dining’ ring to it,” Rick sighed. “Believe me, I’ll work on that. And dear, what would you like me to order for you this evening? I was thinkin’ a lovely chicken nugget Happy Meal would be most appropriate?” I remember saying with a grin. And did I forget to mention birthday presents? I have to admit as the kids have gotten older it has been a challenge figuring out what to do in the gift department. Yep, and this year Katie was pretty much keeping her mouth zippered shut. “I really can’t think of anything Mom,” Katie said. After a little friendly prodding she finally managed to knuckle ball over home plate one suggestion. “Maybe a Barefoot Contessa cookbook, but that is the only thing I can think of,” Katie finally admitted. Chad, Katie’s fiancé, did some scouting work for me on which Contessa books she already had, so with first base covered, I moved on to second. Turning to Pinterest for inspiration, I remembered pinning some time back the empty Kleenex box with the dollar bill hanging out and decided to head over to the bank. I told the teller my idea of taping the small denomination bills end-to-end with Scotch tape and stuffing them in the empty Kleenex box leaving one dollar sticking out for effect. Of course you gotta wrap the box up all cute or the whole thing looks kinda lame. “We had a young lady come into the bank the other day with a string of bills like that. She actually asked me if she could please deposit them all strung together,” snickered the teller. Yep … lots of memories to be made at birthday time. Some of them memorable and some of them … as in Rick’s case … not so much. Dixie Frantz is a longtime Kingwood resident and newspaper columnist for the past 16 years. E-mail Dixie with your comments at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

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