There once was a girl who loved birthdays more than anyone else in the world. She loved them so much that she spent an entire year planning her birthday party. Daphne was obsessed with birthdays. Her friends called her the birthday princess. Her birthday was on November 1st, so she had a difficult time planning her birthday. “I can’t have a pool party like Samantha, who’s birthday was July, it’s much too cool out.”On the opposite side of the scale she said, “I can’t have a snowman party because there just won’t be enough snow.” Despite the apparently restrictive nature of the season of her birthday; Daphne always seemed to come up with a fun, and original party idea. Her parties were the talk of the town. On her third birthday she loved beanbags. Her parents took all of the furniture out of the living room, and filled the room with bean bags wall to wall. It looked like a landscape out of a cartoon with mounds and valleys of different colors. Her parents hung bright streamers from the ceilings, and it looked like a rolling forest in neon. It was a huge success. The friends loved it. For her fifth birthday she had a scavenger hunt, they found things that involved five; fingers, toes, nickels, and other things. She had chosen a huge cake shaped like a treasure map, in the center was a huge, green icing island shaped like the number five.
However this year Daphne was turning eight and she had a problem. In December she was distracted with the school play. In January Daphne’s schedule was jammed, in February she felt frazzled under a load of homework, and a devoted valentine. So it went throughout the year until Halloween arrived and she had no idea what she wanted to do. Her mother, feeling a little frantic herself asked, “Honey, it shouldn’t be that hard, right? You always have ideas” A newly emotional Daphne burst into tears and fled the room, “You just don’t understand the pressure.” Her father took his wife by the shoulders and said, ” I am sure she will figure it out. We’ve sent out the invitations, she will figure it out. The party was set. November the first at eleven in the morning. Her parents hoped for the best.
The snacks were in the pantry, the cake ordered, the decorations ready, and every seven and eight year old in town had R.S.V.P.’d. Yet, Daphne still didn’t know what she would do. Her parents were sure that she was playing a clever trick, and so planned nothing. The day of the party arrived, and the guests arrived. All were standing in the front yard. Daphne stood underneath the great tall Maple tree. It”s leaves were all colors of red, orange and yellow. Daphne loved this old tree more than anything else, and came here when she felt sad. She stood in the midst of a great pile of leaves as her guests arrived. “What are we doing Daphne?” little Maisy Mott asked. “Are we going on a treasure hunt?” tall Jacob Johnson asked. Daphne turned her back to the growing crowd, and tears filled her big brown eyes. In despair she threw herself into the pile of leaves, they embraced her, and ticked her tummy. She instantly felt so much better. An energy started building in her fingers. She threw a handful of leaves into the air, and her tears evaporated. She kicked some with her feet and felt a giddy laugh escape her tiny mouth. Then a strange thing happened. The crowd around her joined in. There were suddenly twenty children all jumping and frolicking in the grand mound. They played in the pile for two hours, building forts, playing hide and seek, jumping and re-piling. Over and over again.
She never did have a birthday that topped “The Fall Party”, as people began to call it. A few of her friends even copied the idea, with great results. Years later Daphne’s friends would tell her how genius the party was. She would smile and think of how her maple tree had saved the party, but that was a secret that she never told anyone.