August 20, 2009: Michael Martin Murphey at Waxahatchie's Texas Theatre
July 14-27, 2009: A Trip to Florida
Return to Index for 2009

August 8, 2009
Our Birthday Party for
Fred, Ron Mathis and Mario


Well, another August has rolled around, and it is time to combine a few birthdays and celebrate them together. In past years, it has been just birthdays for Ron Mathis (August 1) and Fred (August 6), but this year we've added another birthday to the mix- our new friend, Mario Tarradell (August 9). Ron, as he has so often done in the past, has very, very kindly offered to host the group again at his house, and so Saturday afternoon has found our crew there for the celebration.

(Before I go any further, I should point out that I got the instructions wrong for Sams Club, where the cake came from. I had checked last year's picture, and thought I saw 44 for Ron Mathis, so I had the cake made to say "45." Turned out I wrote it down wrong, and Ron was 45 last year, so this year he's 46. Luckily, Jay had an old digit "6" in a drawer, so we made the last minute substitution. If you'd like to take a look at the cake pre-alteration, just click here.)

As Ron and Jay usually do, they invited everyone from our wide circle of friends. Unlike last year, though, prior commitments kept a good many from attending. The final guest list is below. If you are unfamiliar with these people who have appeared so often in my photograph album, you can click on individual or couple's name and I'll show you their picture.

         Ron and Jay
         Fred and myself
         Mario and Steve
         Brad and his friend, Rick
         Lynne and her friend, Wade

Ron and Jay live in Plano- very suburban. It is about fifteen miles from my house- up the Tollway to I-635, around to US 75, north to Parker, west to Roundrock, north to Glenhaven and finally west to their house. They've lived there for quite some time; actually, Ron and Chris moved there in the early 1990s.

Glenhaven is a very nice street in the older part of Plano, which means that the houses are more individual, somewhat smaller and in all different styles- very much unlike the cookie-cutter brick piles that seem to be so prevalent all over North Dallas.


Ron and Jay's house is on the corner, which makes it convenient, and with their pool and patio it is an excellent house for entertaining, which Jay loves to do. Quite often, Fred and I feel awkward that they almost always like to host gatherings that they are themselves attending- like the birthdays, Labor Day or New Year's- but I think that's because they, like others of our group, like to have a drink or two, and they are extremely conscientious about not driving when they have had more than one or two. I think this is very prudent (Fred and I almost never have more than even one) and I respect them very much for it. I feel better when we take them out to dinner to make up for all the cooking Jay does. But I know he likes it (and we like all the things he fixes) and so more often than not we are eating at their house. In any event, I hope Ron and Jay know how appreciative Fred and I are about all the work they do to entertain, and I know all their other friends appreciate it as well.

For the birthday party this time, Jay and Ron have put together a summer menu, with lots of hors d'oeuvres, hamburgers, hot dogs and ribs, and a whole bunch of fixings. My contribution has been to bring the cake (although I did make the numerical error mentioned above). I also do bar duty if someone else wants a frozen drink (which is about all I know how to make). By six in the evening, everyone had arrived and the birthday party was in full swing.

Rick and Wade, new to our group, had to do a lot of talking, since no one knew their "backstories." Jay was keeping his mother's small dog while she was gone to Colorado, and the dog was penned up in the guest room, so everyone, at some time or other, went back to visit with it. Ron and Jay's three Russian Blue cats wandered around soaking up attention, there was plenty of music, the pool table and lots of general chit-chat. Fred, Steve and I took quite a few pictures before dinner; we were just snapping away. So not all (or even most) of the pictures turned out well enough to include here in the album. But since you know from the guest list above who is who, I will just put thumbnails below for the best of all the pictures we took. Have a look at as many of the pictures as you wish by clicking on their thumbnails:

One of the nice things about these gatherings is that we can all catch up on what's been going on with each other. Everyone in our circle knows everyone else fairly well, as they have all seen each other at multiple gatherings, gatherings which have been held at almost everyone's own house, as well as at outings to various events.

About eight o'clock, Jay served dinner- buffet style. We filled our plates in the kitchen and then sat at either the kitchen table or in the dining room. During dinner, the three of us took more pictures, and once again I've selected the best of them to include here. Click on the thumbnails below to have a look at these pictures:

Birthday Party Celebrants

In the last part of the evening, our tradition is to serve cake as we are opening cards and small gifts. The first step is to get everyone some cake. The birthday boys gather for their pictures and then the cake is served. Before we got into cutting the cake, I made a movie to record all the attendees, and you can watch that movie using the player at left.

Next, we cut and serve the cake. The first recipients are the birthday boys themselves, and below are thumbnail images for Steve's pictures of the three of them with their slices of cake. Click on the thumbnails to view the full-size pictures.

After they got served, and everyone else got some cake, the three of us took more candid pictures. Click on the thumbnail images below to see the best of these:

The last fixture of our routine for these birthdays is the opening of cards and small gifts. The cards get passed around so everyone can get a chuckle. Below are the thumbnails for the best of the pictures that we took while all this was happening, and you can click on them to view the full-size images:

It was a really great party, and this was the second year that a third birthday, for Mario, has been added. So "Happy Birthday" to Ron, Fred and Mario!

August 20, 2009: Michael Martin Murphey at Waxahatchie's Texas Theatre
July 14-27, 2009: A Trip to Florida
Return to Index for 2009