If you follow my blog, you already know that Justin got his birthday present early. In fact, only 2.5 months early! Long story short, the smoker I was going to get him went on a major sale so I couldn't resist ordering it...and giving it to him as soon as it arrived. I'm the absolute WORST at keeping surprises secret!
This year, Justin's birthday fell on Father's Day and early on, we tried to figure out how we could celebrate BOTH occasions but without making one "guest of honor" feel slighted...After hearing that there would be a free concert in our City Park the eve of Father's Day Sunday, we knew what we had to do...we would throw a Blues & Barbecue party that Saturday night and we'd show-off Justin's birthday gift!
We gathered the family on Saturday evening and chowed down on pulled pork sandwiches. After spending 18 hours in the smoker, they had an incredible flavor!
Then, we headed down to City Park for the grand finale of the annual Juneteenth Festival. Of all the years we've been in Manhattan, this is the first time we have made it to ANY part of the festival and I'm so glad we could enjoy it! The third Saturday of every June, people throughout the US come together to celebrate the end of slavery. Even though the Emancipation Proclamation became official on January 1, 1863 it wasn't until two and a half years later (on June 19, 1865), that Union soldiers sailed into Galveston, Texas, announced the end of the Civil War and read aloud a general order freeing the quarter-million slaves residing in the state. It's very likely that none of them had any idea that they had actually been freed more than two years before. It was truly a day of mass emancipation. Thus, this date has become known as Juneteenth. Only about one-half of the states recognize Juneteenth and I have to say that I am most grateful that our community has coordinated such a strong and vibrant celebration!
But back to the story! The Juneteenth festival brought in the Daddy Mack Blues Band from Memphis, TN for their grand finale. Daddy Mack is definitely your old-man electric-blues musician but between him and the three other guys in the band, they rocked the house! AND the concert was free! It's crazy to think that people travel to Beale Street to hear him play, but he was in the heart of the Little Apple jammin' for us :-)
Finally, the show was over and our guests headed home. We called it a night because in just a few short hours, it would officially be J-Money's birthday!!! That morning, we went to church and celebrated his big day by putting money in BESS. BESS (which stands for Blessings Everybody Shares Spiritually) is a piggy-bank that members of our church contribute to anytime they have a blessing or thanksgiving to share--then, the money is sent to our sister-church in Haiti to help with outreach projects in their country. It's pretty cool to think that celebrating Justin's birthday with our church family also helps out those in need!
After church, we watched the movie Acts of Valor--it was an amazing movie but I don't know how you could end that movie with a dry eye! It really isn't the best movie to watch on a birthday because it shifts your mood from celebratory to reflective...all I could think about was how I was glad all our friends and brother-in-law have come back safe--and how I continue to pray that our friend who's currently deployed will come back safe. In other words, don't watch it unless you have time to decompress a bit!!!
Once the movie was over, we took a quick nap and then got around for supper at Houlihan's. Did you know that if you go online and sign up for their birthday club, they give you $15 off any entree during your birthday week?! And as luck had it, their appetizers are discounted on Sunday nights so we ended up saving more than we spent!
After Justin devoured his steak dinner, it was time for birthday cake!!! Thank you, Coldstone, for making my man happy :-)
And to be sure that no other Justin walked out the door with our birthday cake, I made sure they personalized it just a bit more than usual ;-)
|"I have frosting on my face???"|
|"Oh, yeah--I do!"|
All in all, we had a great day and great weekend celebrating Justin's "forever" birthday and showing off his birthday present! As the saying goes, he's another year older and another year wiser :-)