me-and-juliaI had the greatest pleasure on Saturday to attend the 90th birthday party of my dear friend, Julia Johnson.  She and Earnie have known each other for almost 60 years.  They raised their children together, and buried their beloved husbands together.  Julia moved to Dallas several years ago, making it difficult to see each other.  When I saw her Sunday, I just couldn’t stop touching her.  She hadn’t changed a bit, other than to shrink in size to the cutest little lady I just want to put in my pocket.

julia-and-motherHere she is with Earnie before Julia blew out the candles on her birthday cake…

Also at the party, my high school English teacher — Mrs. Dyer.  She shared she is 86!  I guess eating lots of home-grown vegetables growing up is the secret, because neither of these gals has aged at all. Now that I am grown up, I get to call her Jean, oh yea!

Julia’s granddaughter, Emily, had everyone send a note to Julia to put into an album.  She received over 90 of the most beautiful, heartfelt notes from relatives and friends.  It’s a good thing I wasn’t around when Mrs. Dyer read mine because she would probably have whipped out her red ball point pen and graded it.

julia-me-and-the-ice-creamThis is what I remember about my dear, sweet Julia…

• Root Beer Floats – She always had ice cream out in the freezer. I could count on an icy-cold float each time I visited regardless of the weather.

• Riding her three-wheeled bicycle up and down the street.

• A delivery of fresh Christmas tree cookies in a tin. Julia eventually caught on that once Daddy got a hold of the tin there weren’t many left for me. So, she started giving me my own tin of cookies. Not a Christmas goes by that I still don’t make those cookies. They don’t taste quite like hers, but Phoebe now has the tradition that these cookies are a must at Christmas.  After talking with all her gorgeous grandchildren at the party, the Christmas tree cookies are famous to them too.

• Playing poker – we didn’t ever play the game, but I spent hours at the round coffee table playing with her dispenser of poker chips.

• My love of toile I think started with being fascinated by the toile wallpaper in her dining room. I loved to just sit and stare at it and imagine myself in the story displayed. To this day, I still have a touch of toile in every home I’ve owned.

• Sitting on the backporch with Julia shelling pecans, talking about life. I shared how nervous I was to be starting high school with the big kids and she reassured me I would be fine.

• Eating her pineapple chess pie… and all her good cooking. Julia cooked a lot of meals in that small kitchen on Carl Street.

• Running errands in her small car. Sometimes we’d even go to the public pool.

• I loved sitting in her husband Jimmy’s big reclining chair. He usually was at work, but the few times he was home I enjoyed getting to sit on his lap.

It’s amazing the positive influence a grown up can have on a child.  I hope I can learn by her example to grow up to be as kind as she has been to everyone in her life.  Happy Birthday, Julia!