Sundays, after church, Barbara goes with her friends, many ten years younger and in worse health, to breakfast. Her friends like it when she drinks regular coffee with breakfast: she’ll excitedly entertain them with stories about meeting Sammy Davis, Jr., of selling magazines as a child, and of nearly missing a train while somewhere in Texas. She’ll talk about the time when she heard God’s voice saying to her, “Rejoice my child, God forgives you,” bringing her to tears, or she’ll describe the miracles she’s experienced in her life.
This December 24th, Barbara will turn ninety. In her long life, she’s only had one birthday party. She’s always had to share the day with Christmas Eve, and her family, which visits Christmas Day, regales her with phone calls on the 24th. But this year, she says, she wants a party. She wants her friends, her son, and her grandchildren to be with her on that day, celebrating her ninety years.