What began as a thoughtful present on a 32nd birthday has evolved into a cherished Midwest family tradition..
Kim Carey built a crown for her father’s 32nd birthday when she was 8 years old, with the assistance of her younger sister Ginchelle Chandler…
In February of last year, the siblings celebrated his 80th birthday at his home in Cedarburg, Wisconsin, marking nearly 50 years after their first meeting.
Carey explains, “We realize it’s stupid, but our father and our adult children, who have never seen ‘Pappy’ enjoy his birthday supper without a crown, would be upset if we stopped.”
“It brings him so much joy. He enjoys the annual surprise of seeing it.”
Despite their expanding family, the sisters continue to build the birthday crown individually, planning each year approximately one month in advance.
In the past 48 years, each crown has had a different theme, ranging from a Packers Super Bowl crown to an Olympic-themed crown to one that highlighted Ronchetti’s finest quotes, or “Pappyisms.”
“One year, we decided to make words out of Hershey’s Kisses, but they were so heavy that they kept falling. Nevertheless, we served it to him every year for his birthday meal.”
In 2021, when virus separated the family, Carey placed the crown on her father’s doorstep and celebrated by Zoom.
But now that family gatherings are returned and her father is retired and in good health, Carey believes they will continue forever.