Evelyn “Ev” Furman knows a thing or two about having changed-up birthday plans.
After all, it was just last year when the big plans that her daughter, Debbie Storts, had made for Ev’s 99th birthday were derailed by COVID-19.
Debbie had planned a luncheon at Rusty Pelican, with family members flying in to attend.
A big luncheon birthday party was planned, too, with Debbie and Ev’s friends.
Those plans were scrapped, but that didn’t deter Debbie.
She switched things up and invited people to walk, drive or bicycle by to help Ev celebrate.
Debbie kept things safe.
She asked people to drop off cards or gifts at the edge of the driveway, where she picked them up and wiped them down, before giving them to Ev.
Debbie doled out treats from a 6-foot-tray to keep things socially distanced.
This year, Debbie was undaunted, as she began planning for Ev’s 100th birthday.
She booked a big room at Rusty Pelican, with plans for 100 guests at the party.
Just like last year, people were planning to fly in for the festivities.
And, just like last year, COVID-19 foiled the Rusty Pelican plans.
So, instead of having 100 people at a fancy party, Ev’s family regrouped and they had the party at Debbie’s house and in the nearby cul-de-sac in her Twin Lakes subdivision.
The party was a team effort of Ev’s daughters, Debbie and Darlene Conville; her son, Gary Furman; her grandson, Derrick Storts; and her niece, Carol Ann Jones.
Darlene and her husband, Charlie, traveled from Michigan to be there. Gary and his girlfriend, Bonnie Bean, came from Georgia. Derrick came over from Winter Springs, and Carol Ann traveled from Arizona.
Eighty-five people joined in for the festivities, which included Mexican meals from a taco truck and live music from Crossroads, a band that played Ev’s favorite tunes — ranging from Big Band numbers to ’70s songs.
Ten-year-old Stella Phillips, was there, too.
After all, it’s a tradition for her to help Ev blow out the candles on the cake, Debbie said.
This year, Stella didn’t help to blow out the candles because of COVID-19, but the Roland Park Magnet School student arranged to be out of school, so she could be there on Ev’s special day.
The Pasco County Sheriff’s Office was there, too. They came with sirens blaring, and they brought a bloodhound and a K-9 — which were popular with the guests.
The law enforcement officers also gave Ev a bouquet of flowers and a stuffed dog, too, to mark her milestone birthday.
And, she got a huge pile of presents and a giant stack of cards.
Last year, even though the celebration was completely different than originally planned, Ev didn’t mind a bit.
In fact, she declared “it was the best party I ever had.”
Turns out, she was wrong.
This one, she said, “was much, much better.”
And now, she’s looking forward to more birthdays — lots more of them.
“I’m going to live to be 200,” an exuberant Ev said, with a laugh.
Published April 21, 2021