An unusual birthday celebration

By PEGGY SIMS,

As far back as I can remember, every year on my birthday, my children have gathered to celebrate and eat a birthday meal with me and then sometimes before or after, my husband takes me out to eat at my favorite place. 

As we all know, things are entirely different this year. 

We were on the Mississippi Gulf Coast this year, and only a few of my children were with me.

We celebrated, but differently … very differently. 

There was no going out on my birthday to eat at a favorite place, no big party with all 21 of us there and nothing in the ordinary. 

Three of my grandsons and one that I have adopted over the past few years were there to party with me and only two of my children. 

Eli, one of my youngest, tried his best and succeeded in making the day as “normal” as could be. He decorated a chocolate cake and went — with his mask on — and bought me gifts that he knew I would like. I got a lighthouse because I love Biloxi’s lighthouse, some shells, a cup, a starfish and my forever flower bouquet that has taken a permanent space on my kitchen cabinet.

They sang to me and I did have a grand time but still missed the other fifteen. 

They even took me fishing — really more than I would ever go — and I sat in the shade and watched as they pulled fish after fish out of the dark blue waters of the Gulf of Mexico and threw them back to be caught another day. One of them even caught a blue crab on his shrimp-baited hook.

We did eat some delicious food from some of the most popular restaurants on the coast — shrimp, lobster, red fish, flounder, oysters and tuna. Of course, all the meals were shared around our dining room table at the house after we picked up curbside. 

You know there is a big difference in eating in and eating out. In, they clean up after; out, you clean up after. This is my most problem part of the scenario.

I am anticipating next year already, and I will have all my ‘peeps’ gathered around me for my birthday.

We had some excellent shrimp scampi and here is my version of this delicious meal.

Shrimp Scampi

½ cup of cubed butter

4 minced cloves of garlic

1 medium chopped onion

1 ½ pounds of peeled and deveined shrimp (I use frozen unless I am on the coast)

1 T. fresh lemon juice

2 t. lemon zest

1 cup of chicken broth

1 package of cooked thin spaghetti

Melt butter in a large skillet over medium heat and add garlic and onion and cook for about two minutes. Add shrimp and season with salt and pepper. Cook stirring occasionally until pink and cooked through 3-4 minutes. Add chicken broth and stir in lemon juice and lemon zest. Serve over cooked thin spaghetti.