Tommy Ingram receives most unusual birthday card

Published 4:48 pm Monday, March 14, 2011

Tommy Ingram proudly shows her birthday card to friends. (Contributed)

By CATHERINE LEGG / Community Columnist

Karen Ingram suggested to her mother-in-law, Eileen “Tommy” Ingram, a big party to celebrate her 90th birthday. Tommy adamantly refused; explaining that she wanted no big deal made of that milestone, So Karen had to think of something else; she was determined to make the day special.

Karen, an extremely creative person, began thinking of all of the things Tommy has done in those 90 years, soon came up with a plan, and began her project. “I wanted to make Tommy happy,” she said, “something especially for her, something not off the rack. I wanted to help her remember some of the many things she has done.”

On the designated day, Tommy was thrilled with a beautiful, very large, hand crafted birthday card noting the hundreds and thousands of things she has done in her very active lifetime.

The listing is full of both fun and serious accomplishments beginning with, “In your life…you have seen more and done more that most people just dream about. Heck, you have forgotten more than many dream of. You have broken down walls, built bridges, and followed your dreams. You have saved and you have spent. You have collected things, and your have given things to others. You have laughed and you have cried. You have lived a full life, and many are blessed to have been a part of your life.”

Each paragraph is headed with “In your life…” Some examples are: You have used at least 2,840 eggs and 1850 cups of sugar; cooked 19,440 biscuits and 2,960 casseroles; performed 83,451 clothes changes and 35,432 baths; seen 17 sitting presidents and five wars; been an entertaining storyteller and a wonderful mother.

Karen knows her mother-in-law very well and pulled many of the facts from her own memory; the other figures she painstakingly calculated. “Making the card was fun,” she said. “Tommy appreciates the things we create, and she appreciated the effort.”

Tommy Ingram and her husband T. J. have lived in Montevallo for about 30 years. She had retired from her self-described “place in life” teaching second grade. They are well known in the community where they work tirelessly with the Civitan Club and Tommy is a great storyteller. She loves entertaining children and folks in nursing homes with her delightful tales.

Karen and her husband, Jon, live in the Birmingham area.

Catherine Legg can be reached at