My mother started smoking at the age of 16 and by the age of 30 she smoked between 2 and 3 packs a day. During these years the fear of dying at 49 had subsided somewhat, at least until the time she started to feel poorly and was diagnosed with emphysema, she was 45 at the time. It was at that moment her past fear returned and she was certain that fate had stepped in and that she was down to 4 remaining years. Her fear was so great that it infected me with the same feeling of impending doom. The next few years her health remained stable, her birthdays came and went without incident as we nervously awaited the infamous birthday number 49…..it was almost as if birthday number 48 was a cliffhanger like the ones on TV. You’re nervously waiting to see what will happen next but you have to wait until the next season to find out. It was a very long year and each day in September seemed never ending. September 29th came, birthday number 49 we celebrated in our usual family way. My mother went to bed that evening and awoke to a sunny day on the 30th exhaling the fear that had shadowed her life for so long.
It is now 21 years later and we just celebrated her 70th birthday. In those 21 years she has battled emphysema, breast cancer, lung cancer, an enlarged heart, spinal arthritis and a few other ailments here and there. Through all that her mind is relatively sharp, her spirits good and her ability to laugh and enjoy life very much in tact.
We had a picnic lunch for her in the cafeteria of the nursing home; we had grilled white and red hot dogs, bratwurst, celery fritters, assorted salads and a chocolate cake. It truly was a day to celebrate, my mother had such a good time……..Happy Birthday Mom.
8 celery stalks
Wash and chop celery into 2 inch pieces. Mix flour, eggs, salt, pepper, oregano, garlic, water and cheese and mix well. It will have the consistency of pancake batter.
Heat oil in skillet or deep fryer (use more oil). When hot, dip celery in batter and carefully drop into hot oil and fry until golden brown. Drain on paper towels and serve hot.