“Some illnesses are self-inflicted” from The Secret Language of Birthdays by Gary Goldschneider & Joost Elffers

Ruth Lamb by ©Jeannette Breward

This photo was taken at Ruth Lamb’s farm. We decided to have her pose with these two adorable calves that were born just three days prior on the farm – Carter and Cash. They were full of spunk and curiosity! They were either attempting to smell or chew on my camera bag, or jumping around their pen, kicking their feet in the air! They were a lot of fun. I tried my hand at cow wrangling and we finally got them together for a shot. – Jeannette B

Image © Jeannette Breward

An Interview with Ruth

Q. What is your best memory/moment from one of your past birthdays?

A. Every birthday when I was a child, there was a new outfit of clothing on the foot of my bed when I woke up on my birthday. It would have been made by my mother. One in particular was when I turned 14. She had made me a really colourful dress for my grade 8 graduation. We called it my “Wow Dress” for years. At supper we would have cake and ice cream, and other, less practical gifts were then given to me. Some kids don’t like clothes for gifts, but I always looked forward to what Mom would have made for me.

Q. How about the worst? And why?

A. None of my birthdays can be called worst but one memorable one was when we were having a wiener roast with my friends. It was special because it wasn’t always warm enough by May 16. After consuming several hot dogs, my friends gave me the Royal Bumps. For those who aren’t familiar with this practice, the birthday girl gets picked up by arms and ankles and her bum bumped on the ground for the # of years she is celebrating. Well, I got bumped and my hot dogs came up. I never forgot it.

Q. What was the present you’ve received for your birthday that most surprised you?

A. I really wanted to learn how to make home made ice cream. We lived on a dairy farm and dairy products always interested me. I received a hand crank ice cream machine for my 14th birthday. I still have it.

Q. Is there one food or dish that you insist in eating during your birthday celebration?

A. No particular dish, but we always have cake and ice cream. The cake is always home made, never store bought, and may be decorated or not, but always delicious. 

Q. What do you believe is the most important aspect of celebrating a birthday?

A. Achieving one more year is reason enough to celebrate. It should be embraced every year, and should be celebrated with those closest to you – family, spouse, children and friends. We never know how long we have on this earth and each year should be cause for celebration.

Q. Do you/your family/culture have any traditions/rituals/ceremonies that are performed to celebrate birthdays? What is it?

A. No we don’t. We are an old fashioned, farm family and are pretty practical. Cake, ice cream, singing Happy Birthday and blowing out the candles. That is special enough.