Flashback today to Basil’s birthday. Tomorrow, he will be 58.
(Yes, I know I’m a day early, but Flashback Saturday lacks alliteration and, besides, around here, folks know he prefers a full monthlong celebration.)
This is a great photo. As with all pictures taken before we became so crop-happy, it’s the details that get me: My mother-in-law, Dena’s, lipstick, earrings and apron. Basil’s short pants. The frosting on Basil’s fingers.
The fact that someone remembered to take a photo AFTER the cake had been cut.
Others from the day show him accepting a present in his playpen, waiting for his piece of cake, crying to be picked up. In all of them, he’s got those extra-rosy cheeks.
I like, too, that this photo marks a moment in time before. Before he
- contracted the case of croup so bad it was written up in a medical journal and he received last rites
- sent a punch bowl smashing its way through a three-tiered glass serving cart in Bloomingdales
- used the push button to start the car he and his Yia Yia were sitting in, in the department store parking lot waiting for Dena. He was 8 and then tried to “drive” while his grandmother screamed at him in Greek. Thankfully, although the car swung out of its parking space, it didn’t hit anything!
- fell through the ice playing hockey and almost drowned
- set the family couch on fire to see if it would burn (while babysitting his siblings)
- was stupid enough to leave his car bumper at the scene of a fender-bender and had a rude awakening the next morning when the police returned it and his father answered the door
- painstakingly created the “yarn drawing” I won’t let him hang in the house
- met me … or Catherine
Happy birthday, Vasili! Here’s wishing you many, many more years of fun — and mischief.
A postscript: Over the years, his birthday dinners have been shortchanged, since they come so close to Thanksgiving (and naturally, 50 years ago, his birthday party was cancelled while the nation mourned President Kennedy’s assassination).
This year, though, with Thanksgiving several days away, I can’t get away with serving leftovers. He’s placed an order for Chicken Cacciatore and Apple Pie.
Somehow I know he’ll be wearing the same expression he has in the first photo when I serve it.