Drive-by birthday: Parade of family, friends honors Carolyn Todd, 85

Carolyn Todd had no idea she was going to get a parade for her 85th birthday.

Her home on Gay Street was decorated for the occasion Monday, but with everyone social distancing because of the epidemic, a traditional birthday bash was out of the question.

On a brilliant April afternoon, she was sitting in the sun in front of her house having photographs taken by her granddaughter, Alex Lee, when she heard sirens and looked toward Maple Street.

Suddenly, she was greeted by blue flashing lights, waving children and adults, helium-filled balloons, colorful placards and bouquets of assorted flowers. Behind her, a machine made soap bubbles.

Someone dropped off 85 carnations, one for each of her years, and a couple in a 1935 convertible, Pat and Warren Skinnemoen, told her they drove the car because it was the same age she was.

Todd waved, shouted and laughed at the people going by in their cars, trucks and a church bus from Central Baptist.

Some got out of their vehicles to bring her presents and wish her happy birthday, but kept their distance.

The grateful grandmother was completely taken by surprise.

“She told me she was going to take a break at 3 o’clock and come out here to take a picture to send to my daughter in Alabama,” Todd said of Alex.

“See? I didn’t even put on my lipstick!” she laughed.

She was gracious in her remarks.

“I would like to thank everybody, and I just want to thank God for the good life he’s given me, and for how blessed I am to have such good children, grandchildren and friends,” she said.

About Randy Patrick

Randy Patrick is a reporter for Bluegrass Newsmedia, which includes The Jessamine Journal. He may be reached at 859-759-0015 or by email at

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