Today is my birthday... My 45th birthday to be exact. I guess I really am at the mid-point of my life (or close enough.) I'm happy to report there is no current crisis though. At least not anything that can't be resolved. I've had a tremendous life so far. I have been blessed beyond any hope or expectation and certainly more than I deserve. I couldn't have asked for more, so I won't start now. I've lived on "Easy Street" my whole life, never really wanting for anything, or at least not wanting it for very long.
Chief's parents (your paternal grandparents) are immigrants to America. They both came over from the Azores when they were teenagers. They lived on the same island (Terceira) but in different villages. Their lives as children is in stark contrast to my own. When they tell their stories of childhood it almost sounds like make-believe. One of my favorites is about eggs.
Your great-grandmother, Maria Doralice Filomena Vierra Rocha Borba Rocha (we just call her Mom or Vava) is the oldest of 6 children. Being the oldest, she held tremendous responsiblity at an early age when it came to household duties. Children didn't have time to play in an agrarian society in the 1940's and '50's. They worked. They worked right along side their parents and siblings every day. One of Bisavo's (Portuguese for Great-Grandmother) responsibilities was gathering the eggs each day. They had quite a few laying hens and everyday, she'd gather the eggs to sell or trade at market for other household goods like flour, lard, etc. They only kept 2 eggs... One for her father and one for the 6 children to share. Yes, you read that right. Six. Children. Shared. One. Egg.
The only exception to this rule was your birthday. If it was your birthday, you got to eat the WHOLE EGG!
I can't even imagine.
We've talked about this through the years wondering... what did Bisavo's mother eat? What happened to the other children on a birthday? Did they just go hungry? It just so different from our experience, we can't really even believe that it happened. What a difference from one generation to the next.
So today, to celebrate my birthday ... In honor of the sacrifices of my ancestors (and your's) I'm going to eat the whole egg. I'm going to remember and be thankful for the graces that have been bestowed upon me, the things I take for granted. Counting your blessings is the best way to ensure they remain bountiful.