Happy birthday, Thelma Smith

by marlys good

There are birthday parties – and then there are birthday parties. There are parties with a few guests, ones with a roomful of guests, or a once-in-a-lifetime party that has fence-to-fence guests (110 at last count) filling the back yard.

That was the type of party Thelma Smith enjoyed July 4 in an early celebration of her 90th birthday hosted by her daughter and son-in-law, Connie and Lane Keisel at their home in Fairview, Utah.

All eight of Smith’s children, their spouses and most of their children/grandchildren were in attendance. Canopies were set up over the tables in the back yard to protect guests from the hot sun and the whole scene was bright with balloons and banners.

There was no dearth of food and activities for “kids” of every age – water pool, water slide, football, basketball, volleyball, fish pond, horseback riding, hula-hoop contest and candy toss with a large slingshot.  You name it they probably played it, either planned or impromptu.

Topping off the festivities was a backyard movie with the film projected on the shop door. Kids rolled out their sleeping bags, everyone got comfortable, (“You gotta have popcorn and candy,” Smith wrote) and the film began.

Smith said she considered herself “a very lucky mother. I thank my dear family for the marvelous occasion. With this kind of support I may live to be 100,” she wrote.

Smith’s husband, the late Metz, died in 1995. Thelma served a mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Las Vegas for a year, and then moved to Utah to be nearer to family.

Then about a year ago,  the Keisels moved Smith into a small guest house at their home in Fairview. “It has become my headquarters and offers me all the comforts of home,” Smith said.