The occasion was grandson Sam�s 15th birthday, Phyllis�s 81st, daughter Jill�s 50th and Jan and Pat�s anniversary. The only ones who didn�t get any gifts were Jill�s friend, Pete, and me.
Phyllis�s natal day happened to be July 7, which makes it 7-7-07, so Sam figured that she should buy seven lucky lottery tickets at 7 a.m. that day, while drinking a bottle of 7-Up!
�It�s too bad there isn�t a 7-11 store on Seventh Street,� Pete said. �That would make your odds even better.�
Of course, Sam came from Korea almost 15 years ago, and he was especially proud of his new driver�s permit. When asked what he wanted for his birthday, he answered without question, �Money!�
Apparently he had heard of the price of gasoline. But I guess it will go to the $2,000 he needs to complete his Eagle Scout project.
Jill made the most of her 50th birthday by proclaiming it loudly as she read her card. And I always thought women were supposed to hide their age!
She said something about her present from Pete � an all-expense-paid fishing trip to the Black Hills � which she proclaimed warmed the �cockles of her heart.�
The she asked: �What�s a cockle?�
Nobody could answer her, including me. It had never turned up in my crossword puzzles!
Sam, true to his Boy Scout motto, went immediately to the computer and googled it. We learned that cockle is a chamber of a kiln or furnace, and the heart has four chambers (two atria and two ventricles), so when the heart starts beating faster and thumping loudly because something pleasant has happened, we say �it warms the cockles of my heart.�
Another version infers that ventricles in Latin are called �cochleae cordis,� and thus the �cochlea� was corrupted to cockles to form the well known phrase. In other words, a cockle is a ventricle. According to my trusty Webster�s Dictionary, a cockle is also a weed, a shellfish or a mineral.
But whatever definition you chose, we all had fun with the question. And we learned something, too!
Pat and Jan celebrated their 30th wedding anniversary on July 2, and I can still remember the party we had with the large Gurney�s tent at the farm.
Skee Rasmussen taught us how to remove tent pegs with a log chain; George Gunderson cut off Buzz Rosen�s burning pant leg (which had accidentally caught on fire while Buzz was lighting a lawn torch); and I had to put Jan into the honeymoon car while she cried �What have I done?� as her new husband looked on helplessly. I guess she sobbed all the way to their first stop at the Holiday Inn in Mitchell.
Anyway, this was a good time for reminiscing, and Jan surprised us all with a home-made ice cream birthday cake for Sam which would have won a blue ribbon at any State Fair.
Come to think of it, that lucky 7-7-07 is an auspicious date. I should do something about it!
� 2007 Robert F. Karolevitz