Saturday, November 18, 2006

Happy Birthday Bebe

Today is my mother's birthday. She is a bit shy- even to this day, but my mother is the quiet steady engine that keeps this family well fed and motoring right along. She always turns out great meals except on her birthday when she likes to go to her favorite Chinese restaurant. Being of Southern heritage, when my mother cooks, she usually has a stick or two of butter at the ready. One of our family's favorite recipes is Greek chicken- like Yiya used to make. My non Greek mother is not particularly fond of this dish, but she patiently churns it out by request. As the saying goes in my family- first you take a chicken... then you bake it in a pan with tomato sauce; cook the macaroni, drain the noodles... and the my mother adds a stick of butter. And all those tomatoey chicken drippings  go on top of those buttery noodles and.... I can't even stand to write about it, it's that good.

My mother was born here at the old Sibley Hospital which was on North Capitol Street. She weighed seven pounds, and was the first child born in the family. Her parents, Bernice and Roger Calvert had just gotten married the year before on Bernice's eighteenth birthday. They named my mother after her mother, Bernice Bailey, and so she became "BB" which morphed into the Bebe we know today. My grandmother wrote: "Baby's first ride was from the hospital to Mount Plaesant in Dr. Molzahi's car. After that she had numbers of auto rides, street car rides, baby carriage rides, but I think she loves best of all to ride in daddy's arms."

She was born a blond, and to this day, through the miracle of modern means, she has stayed a blonde. She is so beautiful that she became a model AFTER she raised three children and before she had one more. She is still a looker and still on the go, planning the next cruise as soon as this one is over. She even drags herself to exercise class and does Thanksgiving for forty of our closest relatives- all on my Dad's side. (That includes a turkey AND a ham and about 5,000 pounds of mashed potatoes)

So this is it- the one day a year she doesn't have to cook.  We're off for Chinese somewhere in Rockville.

Happy Birthday, MOM, and thanks.

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