Last Sunday I had plans to meet my Dad in the mountains of North Georgia to celebrate his 72nd birthday.  Friday morning I got a call from him asking if I would be able to come down a day early to go see Willie Nelson with him in Hiawassee… to which I replied a resounding, “Oh. Hell. Yes.”

I love Willie Nelson, and so does my Dad.  In fact, for many years, I believed this common love for Willie was indeed our one and only area of common ANYTHING.  Fortunately, in my adult years, I’ve come to see my Dad as a friend and mentor, and fortunately, our mutual love for Willie Nelson remains.

We made the above Valentine Cake for Willie Nelson at the Cake Shop.  Joel made the cake (Georgia Hummingbird), Lucy iced it, and I decorated it, with icing roses made by Hannah.

When I got to Hiawassee, we had dinner with friends and I gave Dad his birthday cake, a pineapple upside down cake (when I first made my Dad a pineapple upside down cake, it made him cry.  Unbeknownst to me, this was the cake his mother made him for his birthday when he was a child).

Soon, we headed down to the Georgia Mountain Fairgrounds to see the show.  It was a beautiful night- cold and clear- and the small auditorium was full of coyboys and punks and elders and fans- mostly mountain folks who were so excited that Willie had come to their little town.

(the part about the alcoholic beverages wasn’t true- the Lyons Club was selling wine and beer)

Willie rocked it for an hour and a half without an intermission- and I was in awe of this 78 year old’s enthusiasm and obvious love for the music and his audience.  It was so beautiful.  About halfway through the show, in between songs, I made my way to the front of the crowd and placed the cake I had brought on the stage in front of Willie, along with a copy of the Cake Ladies book.  Though I didn’t hear it, my friend swears that he heard Willie say, “you brought me a cake.”  I hope he enjoyed it…

And the next day was a quiet, relaxing winter day in the mountains with my papa.  Happy birthday, Dad!  I willie, willie wuv you, too.