The Big Seven-O

As he drove his big pick-up truck around the circle at Friends Landing, the furrowed brow and tilted head said he wasn’t quite sure what he was seeing. We actually fooled him. You’d think at 70 there wouldn’t be much that could get past my brother Tom. But the fact that his son had planned a birthday picnic, and that we’d made the trip up from Portland, came as a complete surprise.

We ate chicken and potato salad and fruit salad and baked beans and chips and, of course, birthday cake. Then he opened gifts—I got him a piece of petrified wood because it’s the only thing I could find older than him. He may be the big seven-o, but he’s young at heart. He looked stupendous in his birthday crown. In all likelihood, he’ll outlive the rest of us though he’s the oldest of us five kids. One wonderful memory of the day was when my sister Berta brought out a framed picture of a watercolor he had sent us both when we were just little kids and he was stationed in Vietnam. I don’t remember it, but she had kept it all these years.

After seventy
A new season of our lives
Has only begun


I pondered several picnics I could have written about for today’s Haibun prompt at dVerse Poets Pub, but in the end I settled on this one from last summer.

About Linda Kruschke

I am a Jesus Freak, and I don't care who knows it. I am a wife, mother, sister, aunt, daughter, and friend. My blood family is only part of the larger family of Christ that I belong to. I love to write, especially about my dear Savior.
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31 Responses to The Big Seven-O

  1. michnavs says:

    What a thoughtful surprise for your brother’s birthday…😊

  2. kim881 says:

    What a lovely surprise for your brother’s seventieth, Linda! I like the gift of petrified wood and the framed picture is delightful.

  3. lillian says:

    Oh my….thank you for bringing me into this wonderful family celebration! And what an amazing gift to regift him…I’m certain he was very touched when he saw it!

  4. Sabio Lantz says:

    Beautifully optimistic — loved the sharing of the river boat in Nam.

  5. merrildsmith says:

    What a lovely surprise. This radiates love and affection. I laughed at the petrified wood older than your brother. 🙂 I hope he’s still doing well.

  6. lynn__ says:

    I’m glad you surprised him and shared the watercolor painting!

  7. calmkate says:

    What very special memories to share, heartfelt response 🙂

  8. maria says:

    Awwee. Timeless memories.

  9. Grace says:

    To be young at heart at age 70 is a gift. This was a delightful read and may he enjoy his time for many more years.

  10. Kathy Reed says:

    A special picnic, indeed! I enjoyed reading this.

  11. Gina says:

    a wonderful testimony of sibling love and friendship, i was so touched by every detail in your haibun, especially the gift you picked for your brother.

  12. Larry Who says:

    I remember 70. God bless your brother.

  13. Glenn Buttkus says:

    My wife’s cousin lives near San Francisco. We live in WA state, 800 miles from him. His immediate family threw him a 55th birthday picnic in a local park. We drove down over weekend, surprised him, stayed 3 hours and headed home; what joy.

  14. Frank Hubeny says:

    I like your description of Bertha and his watercolor.

  15. Petrified wood is a great idea for a gift 🙂

  16. Beverly Crawford says:

    I love the family feeling of your picnic. As we grow older, family becomes more and more important. I love the petrified wood gift, by the way! At 85, I wonder what my children might bring for me!!

  17. msjadeli says:

    What a special it was for you all. It was a pleasure to read about it.

  18. I do remember how we did the same with my mother-in-law (I think it was when she was 70 too). a surprise picnic with guests she didn’t know would be there… great fun.

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