January 14th

Thursday January 14th, 1965
Knoxville, Tennessee
Today is my birthday and we began the day early by discovering that Alan and Ken had the chicken pox.  I attended my last WMU meeting at Ridgedale.  After the meeting the ladies surprised me with a cake and gave me a real pretty housecoat.  Mrs. Morris made movies of our eating together and afterwards outside the church.  M.G. and the boys gave me a set of dishes and we bought a camera for our trip to Africa.  We spent several minutes after the children were in bed trying to learn to operate the camera.  I received a birthday from Charlotte and one from Mary Francis Taylor.

Mom awoke this morning with a skip in her step and a twinkle in her eye.  She was quickly tripped and got her eye poked when she realized that both Alan and I had the chicken pox.  What a way to celebrate your last birthday in the USA.

After a rapid recovery she went on to attend a meeting of the WMU at the church.  Mom is fixing to travel over 9000 miles away from home to a land she has never seen and these ladies decide to give her gift for the journey.  A housecoat!    To my male readers I will attempt to explain why this gift was not only appropriate but very much appreciated.  The gift of a housecoat expresses caring and thoughtfulness on a level…..  I give up!  However, after living in a family with at least one woman in it for most of my life I have seen many a housecoat pass from mother to daughter and husband to wife where the joy of receipt of this article of clothing rivals that of gold or silver.  I, like a monkey, can be taught so if any of my female readers would like to educate me here is your chance!  I don’t pretend to understand I just try to learn and do!

Dad along with Alan and Ken chose to give “the gift that keeps on giving the whole year round!”  Dishes and a camera were the offerings laid at Mom’s feet on that day.  Turns out operating the camera proved to be a mystery to Mom so Dad got two presents that year.  I suspect that was Marshall’s plan all along.

I tried this ploy several years later with my wife and did not experience quite the success of my father.  Looks like I still have lessons to learn.

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