Cuttyhunk Keeper Octave Ponsart (photo courtesy Seamond Ponsart Roberts)
Since it was so hot outside, dinner would be served at night, cooked over a fire pit on the beach. Uncle Gene had even brought marshmallows, a precious treat to add to the celebration. Finally, the food was ready and everyone sat down to enjoy their special meal. While eating, the partiers heard the sound of bombers flying over as they did each night at the same time heading for a deserted island five miles away. The planes would drop flares on the island which the next wave of bombers would use as targets for bombing practice.
All proceeded as usual as the beach-goers watched the flares being dropped over the other island. However, just as “Happy Birthday,” was being sung, bombs began falling on their beach! Sand was flying, and people were yelling as they scrambled toward the keeper’s house where Mr. Ponsart told them to hide in the cellar. Meanwhile, he ran to the crank telephone and called the Coast Guard, demanding the bombing be stopped.
Apparently, the second wave of planes had mistaken the fires of the birthday party for the flares. Thank God, no one on the beach was hurt, and the next day the families were amazed to see bombs stuck in the sand and craters in the ground, including one in Mrs. Ponsart’s pansy garden. Besides the fear, anger and shock of the incident, a few upset chickens, and sandy cakes (which someone had grabbed), no serious damage was done, and none of the structures had been hit.
The experience was definitely not the birthday party that had been planned.
This story made me think about another birthday – Christmas, which is the date we celebrate Jesus’s human birth, His birthday on earth. I wonder how many people will celebrate His party, knowing it is His they are celebrating. And I wonder what kind of party He would like us to have for Him?
“Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord.” Luke 2:10-11
How do you intend to celebrate Jesus’s birthday?
*Thanks to Seamond Ponsart Roberts for the story in her book, Everyday Heroes, The True Story of a Lighthouse Family.