Sunday, July 22, 2007

Daddy's 80th Birthday Fish Fry


My parents in 1955, one year after they married (left)
and 1996 (right). That's my sister in my mom's arms & I wasn't born yet. Don't they look spiffy?? I love these old pics.
My parents met at Bible College in Lakeland,FL. Both of them are FL natives, Mom from the Tampa area & Dad from Panama City. We are English on both sides of the family. Doesn't my dad look like an Englishman? He has red hair & fair, freckled skin & I got his coloring.

We had a wonderful 80th birthday celebration for my dad this weekend & enjoyed some long-overdue catching up with old friends from my dad's 27 years of pastoring in Marietta, GA. It truly was a special time of memories & laughs, celebrating my dad's big day. We don't always have big birthday parties, but it just seemed that an 80th birthday was quite a cause for rejoicing!
My dad is quite a man...as I'm sure many of you feel about your own fathers, mine is quite special to me, my rock & my hero. He really is a farmer at heart, but at the age of 23, he was saved & God called him into the ministry where he spent the next 40 years pastoring churches & ministering to people as only he can do. Daddy has a wonderful sense of humor & you will find yourself laughing at his stories & enjoying his story-telling style tremendously....he has a way with words & facial expressions to match. It was old home week, as several old members of his congregation & old friends of our family came to the birthday party & enjoyed a good old-fashioned Southern fish fry. Lunch was delicious & after we all finished eating, one of the ladies suggested that we should all take turns telling something memorable about my dad & the years he spent pastoring our church. These friends then spent the next few minutes telling personal stories of things that my dad had said & done that had touched them, made them laugh, or had an impact on their lives. That was such a fun time. We laughed & cried...and all left with a heart full of happiness that we could all get together again & celebrate the life of a wonderful man of God. He's been retired for about 15 years now, but people still miss his ministry. He does fill in teaching Sunday School now & then & everyone loves to hear him teach. I have a wonderful Christian heritage that I would not trade for all the money in the world. My
parents gave me & my sister a wonderful, strong & stable family upbringing that was built on Christ, the Solid Rock! We fried up speckled perch, homemade potato chips, & hush puppies that went along with cheese grits, baked beans & cole slaw. My brother-in-law also cooked some delicious chicken on the grill that was wonderful. We all got a good dose of grease that should last about a year or 2!
I made this delicious chocolate cake (and got the recipe (click link to go to the recipe) from another blogger, Amanda at Morning Glory Cottage). Amanda, it was great cake & everyone loved it! I added chopped pecans to mine & didn't do a layer cake, but put it in a baking pan. I'm all about cutting corners whenever possible, LOL.
When we got there on Friday afternoon, Mom fixed this wonderful fresh veggie meal & we gorged ourselves on that. My parents have a nice garden at their GA house & they also have a huge garden that's about an acre up at their house in NC. Dad is a happy man when he's on his tractor tending the garden. They go back & forth during the summer months from GA to NC & love spending time up there. My mom cans during the summer & so we all get to enjoy the bounty from their harvest. Mom is about the best Southern cook around. We had fresh green beans, squash, fried eggplant, sliced tomatoes & cucumbers, eggplant casserole, and creamy potatoes & dumplings. It just doesn't get any better than this! This is what I grew up eating & everyone who has ever sat down at my mom's table raves about her cooking. She doesn't cook quite as fattening as she used to, but she knows how to do it right!
Mom's hydrangea in bloom. She let me cut some nice full stems to bring home & dry. They are just gorgeous!
Me & dad on the back carport waiting for the fish to fry.
My niece, Lauren, will be 25 in August, but that doesn't stop her from sitting in my dad's lap every chance she gets. He eats it up! She's the only grandchild & is spoiled rotten, but in a good way. She's studying for the bar exam next week. Here's a link to my Mother's Day post, if you want to see pics of all the girls in my family. Poor dad is outnumbered with a wife, 2 daughters & one granddaughter!
Dad has several huge fig trees in the backyard of their home.
They live on 1/2 acre here in GA & about 1/3 of the backyard is garden space. He has been gardening for as long as I remember. When we were growing up, we hated having to work in the garden, digging up rocks, weeding, & picking vegetables. Oh, how I hated the bugs & how hot it was & got out of doing much of anything in that garden as often as possible. My sister and I definitely didn't appreciate it until we got older. Now, we love to share in it's bounty! We filled up bags of squash, tomatoes, beans, cucumbers, & okra to bring back home with us.
Dad's muscadine vines in the backyard. He has always loved growing fruits too. They have some wonderful blueberries up in NC.
Lots of green tomatoes still on the vine. Luckily, they have started to get rain again, just in the nick of time to save his GA garden.
My farmer Daddy and my hubby, Peter, checking out the garden. You can see my Dad is tall, 6'5". I get my height & long legs from him, as well as my skin & hair coloring.
Thanks for wishing my Dad a Happy Birthday! I think he thoroughly enjoyed his day with friends & family. He loves for people to come & visit him at his house.
I will be posting some really neat things soon on my shop site, so please come by for a visit in the next couple of days. I made a trip to one of my favorite places to shop in Atlanta, House Parts, & found some great deals that I will share with you. I'll be posting those soon & I'll do a write-up about this fun place called House Parts. I know you are going to love these neat things!
Hope you're all having a great week!

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45 friends stopped by:

Steph said...

Sounds like you had a great time! Wow! That food looks great! I just love summer vegetable suppers! Unfortunately, we don't have a garden anymore, but we sometimes hit it good at the local farmer's market!
Looking forward to seeing what new goodies you put in your shoppe!

justabeachkat said...

Oh, I loved getting to meet your Dad through this post. What a great Dad and role model. You're blessed for sure.

It looks like you had a wonderful visit...yum yum...all the food looked great. Makes me hungry just looking at everything.

Hugs!
Kat

PAT said...

Looks like you had a wonderful celebration for your dad, Rhoda! He looks great!

The food looks delicious.

Looking forward to seeing what you picked up in Atlanta!

Pat

~Becca~Bluebird Rose said...

Loved this post! First of all, loved seeing all that food, because it certainly brought back memories of what our family meals used to be like...... my mom would cook up a whole "mess o'stuff" like that!
And loved the pic of you and your dad; it brought tears to my eyes. My own dad would be 80 as well..... I miss him every day. I'm so glad you were able to enjoy some special family time!
:)

Betty said...

Rhoda, just got home this afternoon and couldn't wait to fire up the laptop and see what you and others have been up to this week. We've been to Indiana and Chattanooga. We'll be home until Thursday and off to our cabin in the mountains for a few days...

Please wish your Dad a belated Happy 80th Birthday for me... He sounds like a delightful, God loving man to me...I'm sure he is a faithful servant of our Lord....

Sandi @ the WhistleStop Cafe said...

What a special day! I'm glad you are able to enjoy time with your Dad.
I love your little shop, I'm thinking about doing the same thing... I may need some tips =D

Rosemary said...

Hi Rhoda,
Glad you had such a great time!
Your dad look really nice. Glad he had such a good birthday celebration. It all looks so very southern.
Enjoy your hydrangeas!!
Rosemary

Suzanne said...

Sounds like a wonderful celebration Rhoda. And my mouth was watering reading all about the good food you had! So you are a PK? So is my husband! lol
Glad you had a great time!

Judy said...

Hi Rho:

Well, your parents are such lovely people. They are exactly as you describle them. Loving, Godly people. As you are Rho.

I was busy with Scott this week, but I will stop by to wish your Dad a happy birthday. Also, I want to see that garden. My Daddy was a farmer too!

It was good to see you on Friday.

Love You,
Judy

Mrs. G said...

well, I don't even know your dad but I just want to give him a Big Ol' Happy Birthday Squeeze...he sounds like quite the man...and I love that you have that old photo of your parents alongside the more recent one :)

(and all that food just looks too good)

violetlady said...

Happy Birthday to your Dad. Thanks for sharing it with us -- loved all the pictures.
Check my blog -- I have given you an award.

Carol said...

Rhoda, thoroughly enjoyed getting to "know" your Dad thru your post! What a treasure to still have him! Please share about House Parts, I haven't heard about that.
Carol

shaybert said...

I feel as though I got to come with you to this special celebration. I missed my own Poppa's 70th BD party b/c both hubby and I were out of work at the time and couldn't afford the trip and then he died a year later, so no chance for an 80th. Thank you for letting me tag along and get to know your sweet family! Blessings!

Kate said...

What a lovely post. Your parents sound like amazing people. I found you recently and love your blog. I live way, way further south, at the bottom of Australia!

LivingTheLife said...

Rhoda...what a "great" day for you and your family. Your dad and mom sound like the most darling couple...I love that they both enjoy the fruits of your dads labor with the harvest from his garden...I know your mom has to work as hard as he does...w/canning and preparing all the delights they reap from it...my parents did the same exact thing every year...preparing the garden, planting, harvesting and then canning and freezing all the bounty...what teamwork that takes...I remember many hours (well maybe not hours...it just seemed that way b/c it was hot) I spent helping daddy pick veggies out of the garden...I especially loved it when he let me pull up the carrots...and I loved the corn stalks...and hiding from my brother! What fun we were able to have with something so practical yet...so much a part of our childhood...

Please tell your mom to give your dad a great big "Texas" birthday hug from me...he really is a doll...both of your parents are precious...and by the sound of the party...I'm not alone in my opinion!

blessings...
"T"
LivingTheLife

Lallee said...

Rhoda, how blessed you are to have your parents. The sharing of memories of your dad for his birthday had to be a big highlight of the day. It was great how so many were able to attend. I loved seeing the pictures, and I can see where you favor your father in ways. I can't believe the size of the garden he still tends to! My mouth is absolutely watering looking at that vegetable lunch your mother prepared family style. It makes me want to jump in the car and drive to Dillard House!

Tammy518 said...

Wow, what a great birthday celebration for your dad! It all sounds like great fun. The food looks yummy. Your vegetable dinner looks good also. With all that fresh product in the summer, who needs meat, right?

restyled home said...

Your Dad sounds like a real treasure and you sound like a very appreciative daughter. What a wonderful time you had...and the food sounds and looks delicious!!
Loved this post,

Linda

linda t said...

What a wonderful celebration! Sooo thrilled that your family could do this for your Dad!
My Dad turned 80 a year ago and we treasure the time we had as a family celebrating my dear Dad!
And the food looks divine Rhoda!

Decorating Queen said...

Oh Rhoda don't you just love Fish fry's. Every year in San Antonio TX we go to a fish fry that my uncle has at the local park. Oh your father looks so sweet and strong. Looks like you guys had a great time. He has a wonderful garden. Thanks for sharing his B-day with us.

I also wanted to say thank you for stopping by my blog and leaving such a sweet post.

JeniBeans said...

hey, we just got back from a church Campmeeting in Lakeland last month. =)

Jen said...

Hi Rhoda~Such special moments you have shared and it is a wonderful heritage to pass on. Families are such a blessing especially when there is love like you have expressed here. Thank you for sharing your family with us. Have a beautiful week~Jen

Jen @ The Cottage Nest said...

It sounds like a woderful time. I really enjoyed reading about it. Do you want to hear about what a small world it is? Did you know our Daisy Cottage Kim lives in Lakeland and I lived there when I was a child. So funny!

lucinda said...

I always say food is love...looks like a lotta loving when on! Yum!

Susie Q said...

Your Dad sounds like such a wonderful man. My Dad was quite a gardener too...: )
It is always a blessing to have a Daddy that you love and can respect too. Like you, I did as well. It truly is a blessing.

All that wonderful food..fresh grown veggies are such a treat. Nothing like the dinners in the South. My Father's roots were Southern and I spent every Summer in TN. Still cook like that..: )

I am so glad you all had such a sweet time with you dear family. I send a happy birthday greeting to your special Dad.

I look forward to seeing your treasures! I usually lose out on some goodies but I sure love to look!

Have a sweet week.

Hugs,
Sue

(OH! I saw that you were given one of Betty Jo's Reflection Awards! Congratulations! Well deserved!)

wisteriagirl said...

How Precious! Enjoyed your sharing about your Dad's 80th birthday. I teared up reading about your Daddy. Your parents sound like really sweet people. I pray that God will bless him and your mama with many more wonderful years.

ValleyGirl said...

Oh, I couldn't help but fall in love with your blog the instant I saw the banner pop onto my screen! I'll definitely be back -- I've already linked you on my blog for easy access!!

Looks like a wonderful celebration (the food looks amazing!!) for a very special man.

The Decorated House said...

What a great day you all put on for your dad! The food pictures are fun, but I loved seeing his gardening. So sweet and amazing that he is still doing so much.
Donna

Julie said...

Happy 80th to him! It is amazing that he tends to that huge garden too.

Okay - I hate teasers though...so hurry up and post your new store items!!! ha ha..

Jill@Who Could Ask for Anything More said...

What wonderful memories about your dad! The food looks delicious. My mom turned 80 this year, too, and she was just here in ATL for a visit. Looks like your dad is still young at heart!

the feathered nest said...

Sounds like you had a wonderful time. You are lucky to have such great role models as your parents!

My daughter is the same way you were about weeding, picking out rocks etc. But I told her she'll probably grow up to be a landscape architect and spend all her time outdoors gardening just because she hates it all so much now LOL!

Manuela

Pittypat Paperie said...

Hi Rhoda. Enjoyed sharing (through pics) in your fun day you had with your parents. The meals sound great especially the vegie one. My fave :o) So glad your dad had a great birthday. Diane

DebraK from ~the Bunnies Bungalow~ said...

Wow Rhoda, you are so very, very lucky to have such an upbringing! I loved the homey feel of the party & the food looks heavenly.You are truly blessed.

Hugs, DebraK

bren said...

Your dad sounds sooo special. Thank you for sharing him with us. I have many memories of family fish fries.
It is truly a small world. I was in Lakeland today. I live about 25 miles south east of there. Glad you were able to enjoy this time with your family.

Betty Jo said...

Rhoda what a wonderful post this is and it brings back so many memories for me. I was born in Lakeland, FL, grew up in Auburndale about ten miles away. You've made my mouth water with your photos of speckled perch, hush puppies, and muscadines. I soooooo miss those fresh GA figs too. Yummy! My Daddy gardened like yours with mustard and turnip greens almost up to my waist. I miss my parents wonderful gardens and Mama's cooking, much like your mothers. My parents have both passed away. I sure do need a trip home!! xoxo

Susan Ramey Cleveland said...

Still a very lovely couple, your mom and dad. The feast looks delicious.

Southern Heart said...

Rhoda, I've enjoyed hearing about your parents, and getting to know them through your blog. I can certainly see why you turned out to be such a special lady yourself!

It looks like a perfect weekend all around! I am so glad that all of you had such a lovely time (yummy food, too!).

xo,

Andrea

Belle-ah said...

Your parents look lovely and your Dad sounds like a wonderful Father and a great example of what a Father should be.

All that food has me munchie now, though!

Adriann said...

What fun! My daddy is a farmer at heart too! He keeps a garden, in fact I just brought back some turnip greens and cucumbers from Birmingham when we went to our family reunion.

The food looked deeeeeelicious!!! I gained 5lbs just by looking at it.

I can see the love and admiration you have for your Dad. It's a special bond.

Enjoy your week!

Deb said...

Wishing your Dad a Very Happy Birthday. It looks like a wonderful day of celebrating with your family!

Baby_Tease said...

Hi Rhoda, Do you mind me asking how you dried the hydrangea? It might sound strange, but is there anything special you do? I know when you cut them and put them in water you have to smash the stems... but when you dry them do you do anything to keep them looking so real? I have never tried it, but I would love to. Love looking at your photos. Looks like it was a ball! Kim.

paintergal said...

Rhoda, what a sweet testimony to your dad. He sounds like a great father!

Carolyn said...

Wow ~ looks like you all had a wonderful time together for your dad's 80th! I always feel as if I have been invited along, when you post your photos. From the yummy looking food on the table, to their garden, to you all sitting on the back porch. I love that your dad is still gardening! I remember you telling me about their NC place, too. Great all around. So glad that you have been blessed with such a wonderful dad, and that eveyone had a great time! I always enjoy visiting you here. Have a great day! :-)

Nathan's Uncle said...

Rhoda, thanks for being a faithful visitor to my blog. I know mine is dinky compared to yours, but I'm really glad I got it started. It's a great way to document your life as you go . . . .

Congratulations to Uncle Al on his 80th birthday! I am so jealous that I couldn't be there. All the spread food tables were making me salivate. I can attest to Uncle Al's gardens, both of them, and Aunt Iris's cooking, having enjoyed them often over the years.

One thing I want to know is are the tomatoes in yet. There is nothing like a Georgia or North Carolina tomato sandwich. They grow better tomatoes in that red clay than I have tasted anywhere. The perfect balance of sweet and acidic. Slice 'em thick, lay out two slices of fresh Wonder bread, slather on lots of mayo, salt & pepper, and enjoy. Nothing better! Now there's an idea for a blog entry, Rhoda, how to make the perfect tomato sandwich.

Just beautiful memories . . .

Thanks again for the inspiration, Rhoda! If I only knew how to attract readers like you do.

Your cuz, Howie AKA Nathan's Uncle

Vonda said...

Oh Rhoda, I feel like I've been to a Birthday party for sure. And oh the good ole Southern cookin' is making my mouth water as I sit here in Germany too far away from the good ole South. Your Daddy just looks as handsome and precious as ever. And your Mama's hydrangea bush is glorious! Hydrangea's and Summertime in the South! Oh I'm getting homesick! I may have to just make that chocolate cake! Love ya-Vonda