Drive By Celebrations?

The other morning I received a phone call to look outside my window.  There on my street were at least 10 police cars.  Startled and intrigued, I went outside to investigate.  Anticipating that someone on my street was about to be served with an arrest warrant, I quickly began to deduce who that may be.  Unable to name one person, I remained baffled.  But, before I was able to solve my latest mystery, the Police “lit ‘em up” and drove down my street.  They rounded the corner and turned onto the street behind me with their sirens wailing.  Still somewhat confused, I asked my equally curious neighbor what was going on.  She was definitely more in the know than I was, because she told me that it was for a child’s birthday on the street behind us. Wow, I thought.  That was so nice.

Stories such as this are becoming the new norm in birthday party celebrations.  “Drive-by parties” they call them.  The celebrated one stands on the front steps and waves, as well wishers drive by with signs and tooting horns (or sirens!).  Here is an example of a story from Pittsburgh: Woman celebrates her 100th birthday .

While it is a well intended gesture, and definitely better than nothing, I have a twinge of sympathy for all of those people out there who are left with no other alternative way to celebrate. I also find myself yearning to celebrate events such as holidays and birthdays like we did just a few months ago.

So today, I am going old school and sharing with you a birthday celebration from just six months ago, when my Mom celebrated her milestone birthday.  It makes me smile, thinking of how we were able to pull it off and grateful that we had it when we did.  In case you weren’t there, here is a snip-it of her arrival…

Confetti filled gold nestled among black and white balloons, tied in a bouquet, centered each black tablecloth. The sound of 80s pop music filled the air while people of all ages mingled around the antiquated hall. 

“Do you think she knows?” rang as conversation starter of the evening by both family and friends. 

“Everyone, she has arrived!” exclaimed the DJ from the makeshift stage in the corner of the room. The laughter, music and friendly conversations were replaced by a quiet hush as the party guests silenced themselves in anticipation of her arrival. The faint smell of pulled pork and BBQ ribs filled the air.

“Surprise!” everyone shouted as she entered through the front door.  Her eyes opened wide.  Her head dropped in disbelief. Her hand covered her mouth as she began to cry. The guests remained in their spots, watching her reaction.

The youngest guests, her grandchildren, ran up to embrace her in warm hugs…

This weekend should be a time for us to gather together to celebrate Easter and/or Passover with extended families and friends.  Instead, we will find ourselves creating alternative ways to acknowledge the holiday, just as we are with birthdays.  While I am quite sure you will not have 10 police cars drive by with sirens during your Easter meal or a DJ playing 80s music at your Seder supper, what are you doing to make the holiday memorable? Will you still have a family meal together on Zoom?  Will you drive by that special family member’s house and blow them a kiss?  Will you try your best to normalize it as much as you can and keep with as many holiday traditions as possible? Or will you be creative and begin a new family tradition? Whatever you decide, I wish you and yours a memorable one!

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7 replies »

  1. Happy Birthday to your wonderful Mom! Such a nice surprise.
    Yes, this Easter will be so different; just my husband I dining on a small ham – must have a celebratory dinner to remind us of wonderful holidays. I will miss my sons. I won’t be having a drive by to wave but we will have a group face time. YES, you can teach an old dog new tricks. Before last week, I didn’t know that you could face time with more than one person at a time! Or perhaps we will zoom a meeting. Thank goodness for technology during this tough time. I never thought I would praise technology so much. I just have to see their faces and assure myself that they are doing well. I think that I will hide from view my chocolate cream pie which is their favorite pie when we gather together. I can’t wait to bake one when they are here in person.
    Happy Easter Julie to you and your family


    • It sounds like you are making the most out of the situation, although knowing you, I am not surprised. I am sure your boys will miss you and your chocolate cream pie. Good idea to keep it hidden!


  2. Julie, What a wonderful surprise that special night was! I have so often reminisced about it and looked at the pictures over and over! And believe it or not, that evening has been on my mind now more than ever because I was with my loved ones … and friends!!! No social distancing or isolation!

    Jim and I had planned to have the family over for Easter dinner but Covid 19 has other plans for us….so there hopefully will be phone calls, group texts, face time or zoom for us and our family!

    I wish each and every one of you a blessed Easter/Passover!


  3. Happy Easter! Smiling remembering Easters past and looking forward to many gatherings in the future and not taking those opportunities for granted!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Although Easter was so different this year than years before, it was so special for me. I thought I would be spending the day by myself (I lost my husband a year ago) but this was not the case. In mid-morning, I got a ‘phone call from my son Bill and his wife Michelle saying they were on their way to my home. They wanted me to look for them so I could come out in the driveway to visit with them. My very thoughtful daughter-in-law Michelle made me her Easter Bread, which she does each year. I love this so much and she did not disappoint me. She also made me a mask to protect me when I go to the store. It was so much fun talking with them, although it was hard not to get to hug and kiss them. Then my granddaughter Karina called and said she was organizing my 7 grandchildren on Zoom so I could speak with them all at once. Kristen (another granddaughter) technically put this altogether (not easy because she had to improvise as I had a problem with the connection). This was so wonderful. I looked at my grandchildren, all so beautiful and good, and enjoyed conversation with them. Then both of my daughters called and we had a great time talking about Easters past and the love we had for each other and how much we missed “Dad”. I so enjoyed interacting with my family. Actually I more than enjoyed this. I never felt so cared for and loved, and I thought to myself how good life is even in dark times. There is always so much to be grateful for.


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