Tuesday, August 1, 2017

T Stands For Happy Birthday to Me

My birthday celebration began early with a trip an hour to the West to the Massachusetts Veterans' Memorial Cemetery in Agawam. That's where my parents are buried.


As is my custom, I brought a bouquet of flowers for Ma, and I greeted her first. She was funny about that. Even if Dad was outside to greet us, we had to go inside to greet Ma first.

The cemetery has strict rules about the plots. Planting at the grave is not permitted. Fresh cut flowers any time placed in the plastic cones provided. Potted plants no bigger than 8 in. around permitted at gravesites 5 days before through 5 days after: Easter, Mother's Day, Memorial Day, Father's Day. Freshly cut green wreath with one bow allowed from November 1st through January 15th. Wreaths must be laid on the ground in front of headstones. Cannot be attached to headstones. Wreath stands may be used. The cemetery is well kept and the ground crew removes flowers that have faded.


So flowers at the back of the stone. Dad wouldn't mind that I didn't bring flowers to him. He'd just be happy to see us.  It's almost the 4th. anniversary of his passing. Ma passed the same year in November. There's something I don't think I saw before. Ma had told me August 4th was her due date for me though I couldn't wait.


They are buried in a newer section of the cemetery. Sadly, it's beginning to fill up. Usually, after a visit to the cemetery, we stop for lunch at Michael's Pasta in the Pan, a small Italian restaurant nearby that we like. Friday afternoon traffic on The Pike (I-90) is horrendous during the Summer with vacationers escaping to the Berkshires or points West. So instead of getting stuck in traffic, we opted for an early morning trek and a stop for breakfast at Cracker Barrel on the way home.


Cracker Barrel is a restaurant chain which serves faux Southern comfort food. Besides the restaurant, there's also a pseudo country store.


Pick a mug and join me for breakfast with your favorite beverage.



Mine happens to be tea and Twining's English Breakfast is my favorite morning blend. I like the personal teapot.



 One of the things I like about Cracker Barrel is you can get breakfast all day long, and you can order grits. Grits are ground corn and a Southern staple. I love grits. I was introduced to grits when I was in junior high school. I met a friend who had moved to Massachusetts from Georgia. One day while hanging out at her house, she made grits for lunch.

My breakfast, the Old Timer's Breakfast,  consisted of a bowl of grits (left), biscuits and Sawmill gravy (bowl on the right), scrambled eggs, bacon, and warm apples.


Himself doesn't like grits. He doesn't like any kind of hot cereal. He ordered Momma's French Toast Breakfast, sourdough French toast, sausage, and he had a side order of apples. His breakfast came with a tiny bottle of maple syrup.


The restaurant is very homey and comfortable. Old-fashioned bric a brack (old photos, wash tubs, signs, irons, etc.) decorate the walls.


After breakfast, we puttered around the store. There's a selection of old-fashioned candy.


A display of Halloween decorations was already out. Of course, I had to take a picture of the black cat.

Clothing, baubles, unusual gifts


 souvenirs from Boston if you didn't want to make the trip to Boston, 60 miles to the East.


Cowboy trinkets made me smile. Himself found an item which I did splurge on. 


On the way out, a woman stopped me and complimented me on my necklace and earrings I was wearing. I told her they had been Ma's. A gift from my Dad when he was in the Phillipines during WWII. The necklace was broken and in her hope chest. After she passed, I fixed the necklace with a clasp and took two shells from the necklace to make earrings. A bit gaudy, but I like them. Anyway, this woman was positively gushing about the necklace. And how Ma was with me and would be so happy I was wearing the necklace. The woman was so happy and upbeat and kept leaning into my personal space. I was worried she was going to hug me. I'm not a hugger, especially with strangers. It's a New England thing. I smiled politely and we both went on our way. In the car, Himself and I cracked up laughing. Ma could be possessive and territorial especially in her later years when dementia clouded her mind. She would be pissed to know I had taken her necklace without her permission. I didn't have the heart to rain on that woman's Zen.



The rest of the day was spent relaxing and watching television in the sun room. Birthday dinner was take-out from Five Guys Burger. Little Bacon Cheeseburger with lettuce, tomato, pickle, mustard, ketchup, fries, and a Lime Coke. Mmmm, Heaven.


After dinner, I hung up my new sign in the front porch 


The sign complements my alter ego which hangs on the other side of the front door. Her sign reads: Yes, I can drive a stick. I made her broom.

Drop by hosts, Bleubeard and Elizabeth's blog to find out what the rest of the T Stands For gang is up to. If you want to play, include in your Tuesday post a beverage or container for a beverage. Don't forget to link your blog to Bleubeard and Elizabeth's page.

34 comments:

  1. What a fun post today, so much to read. Love the idea of visiting your parents on your birthday, that's great. And I love the places you visited afterwards to shop and eat. That breakfast looks wonderful, but I would, of course, take mine with coffee. Nice story about your Mom#s necklace, too! Happy T Day, hugs, Valerie

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    1. I had actually wanted to visit the cemetery earlier in the Summer, but schedules and timing didn't cooperate. I had debated about putting the visit off another week, but thought another opportunity might not show up. Best laid plans and all

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  2. Sounds like you had the perfect day! What a lovely way to celebrate your birthday by remembering your parents and the flowers you chose for your Ma are so beautiful 😀. We adore Cracker Barrel and it's the perfect place for breakfast. I'd definitely choose your breakfast any day of the week with the yummy grits, warm apples, biscuits and gravy - oh how my mouth is watering now, yummy! I could spend all day in the shop too looking around and I enjoyed seeing the cowboy trinkets as they reminded me of the ones my hubby has 😁. Great story about the necklace too and so funny about the lady and what your Ma would really think ... it made me laugh ... lol 😁. Happy T Day! J 😊

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    1. We're still laughing about the necklace story. The woman was just so sunny and positive, I didn't have the heart to ruin her Zen.

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  3. I have never been to any of my families graves.... grandparents, father... I think its nice that you do visit. I live too far away.. Loved hearing about your Ma. Cracker Barrel is my daughter's fav restaurant... I like to walk around the store although the prices tend to keep me from buying anything ....LOVE that black cat! Happy T day! Hugs~ deb

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    1. We'll keep going as long as we're able. Cracker Barrel is a fun place. It was hard resisting that black cat.

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  4. What a wonderful day and such fun things to do. The idea of visiting where your parents are is a great touch and heartwarming. I believe that set the tone for the rest of your day. Happy Birthday wishes to you!

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    1. I had a great day and thanks for your kind wishes.

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  5. This was a nice day looks like.
    When I was on a trip once we stopped at a cracker barrel and I really loved it-the food was really delicious and my friend and I enjoyed the gift shop.
    that is special you were able to fix and wear your Ma's jewelry-very nice
    Happy T Day hugs Kathy

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    1. I love their breakfast offerings, and they also have a great bacon, lettuce, and tomato sandwich. I've gotten lots of compliments while wearing Ma's necklace. Just not as enthusiastic as the woman we met a CB :-D

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  6. It sounds like you had a very special memorable day.
    I liked the look of the restaurant and shop you visited .
    lots of interesting things to see there.
    The signs you have hanging on your door did make me smile when I read the words.
    Happy T day.
    Yvonne xx

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    1. CB is a fun take-in when we get out that way.

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  7. Happy Birthday!!!! What a nice way to celebrate. I bet Ma would like knowing you are enjoying her necklace...maybe....before the dementia set in....?(CB is one of our favs too!) :)

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    1. Before dementia, if I had asked her for the necklace, she wouldn't have refused me.

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  8. We have Cracker Barrels here, and we can always find something on the menu that suits us. You can't go wrong with a restaurant that has a front porch filled with rocking chairs :)

    I am a hugger, and I'm sure I'd have hugged your happy stranger before she hugged me lol

    Happy T Tuesday!

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    1. You'd have to be a real fussy eater not to be able to find something on their menu.

      No hugging strangers. That's what happens when you let Puritans settle an area. (-;

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  9. What a fun, uplifting way to celebrate your birthday. So glad you had the chance to visit your parents' graves. My grandparents are buried next to each other and they have a concrete platform around the headstones (that I paid for) that hold the pots on each side. If I had known when I bought their plots that I would probably never get married, I would have purchased one next to them for me. But when you are 21 and your whole world has fallen apart, you don't think of those details.

    We don't have a Cracker Barrel in Wichita, but there is one in the town north of here. My friend Kathy and I went one time. I got all carried away taking photos of everything in the store before we ate.

    Sorry, I'm like your husband. I don't like grits. A friend I used to have breakfast with used to make them and I couldn't stand them, but had to eat them because it would have been impolite to turn them down.

    That is one unique necklace. I can see why the woman stopped you. I'm also a hugger, so it would not have bothered me at all. Your action just confirms how I feel about Boston and the "aloof" feeling I got when I was there.

    Thanks for sharing your wonderful birthday at the cemetery, your food, your tea, your burger, and drink with us for T this Tuesday.



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    1. 21 is too young to think about those things.

      I didn't take as many photos at CB as I would have. One of the managers was following me around. I got the impression he wasn't too happy.

      One thing about Yankees, I've been told. We are warm and courteous. You just have to have planted 7 generations in order to lose the new comer status. :-D

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  10. Happy belated birthday! You were in Agawam, you could have visited my family and the dancing bird :-D

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    1. I think of you every time we head out that way. They still have the dancing bird? Though I think your sister danced way better. :-D

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  11. CJ; a most happy birthday to you and here's to 100 more !!! your day sounds awesome; you did what you wanted when you wanted; the way it should be. here's to a year ahead filled with happiness and health; and maybe..Ink junior ! ?? ☺☺☺♥♥♥

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    1. Thank you, Laura and Tabbies. Headbutts to all =^.."=

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  12. Belated happy birthday, CJ! Taking flowers to your mom is a lovely tradition.

    I laughed at your description of Crackle Barrel's "faux Southern comfort food" and "pseudo country store." Yup - you nailed it. It is a fun and consistently good chain restaurant though.

    I love your new sign and the witch doll who drives stick - too funny.

    Happy T-Day! Hugs, Eileen

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    1. CB with all the faux is still a great place. Good food, reasonable prices, fun stuff to look at.

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  13. What a great post! Belated Happy Birthday! The Cracker Barrell looks like an interesting place! Hubby's choice looks good - maybe he will eventually succumb to a photo - my hubby took ages to persuade him that being on T day wasn't scary or evil!!!! Happy T Day! Chrisx

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    1. Not scary or evil :-D I better not mention those phrases or he might not let me take pictures of his meal or drink

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  14. I love the Halloween signs you got. And your mom's jewelry. That's very special.
    Sounds like you had a nice bday. Glad you enjoyed your special day.

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  15. That was nice to include your parents on your birthday. So many rules at that cemetery, too many for my tastes. Love cracker barrel and five guys. Belated happy birthday!🎂🎈🎉🍰🎁🕯️

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    1. The cemetery is a military cemetery so that's why all the rules. All the headstones look the same. Very precise. Very uniform. That's what Dad wanted.

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  16. Sounds like a good birthday. My husband lived in Georgia for a spell when his Dad got transferred out of Boston. They didn't like it there and his dad put in for a transfer and thy ended up in Portland, Maine. His nickname was Grits. But he won't eat them. I like all day breakfasts and I like five guys too. I had a little cheeseburger (no bacon) and fries for my Friday night dinner also. :) Happy T day. Hugs-Erika

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    1. I like grits. So it's my treat when I have breakfast at CB. I'm addicted to the Little Bacon Cheeseburger. So good.

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  17. Happy Birthday! I think it's very special you celebrate it with your mom and dad! I love the restaurant! I have never tried grits? I don't think we have that in Canada? Your food looked very yummy! I think that's so funny about you wearing your mom's necklace and earrings and what happened! LOL! I love your "witchy" sign and "witchy" girl!

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    1. Still laughing about being accosted by that lady
      :-D

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