The Dart: Boy gets birthday loot
NATCHEZ — The only thing that could have made Joseph Bumgarner’s 10th birthday party any better would have been an appearance by Stevan Ridley.
But even though his favorite football player didn’t attend, Bumgarner was still enjoying his party Saturday afternoon when The Dart landed on his family’s
Sun Court house.
With dozens of LSU flags hanging from the ceiling along with a cake decorated with icing to resemble Mike the Tiger, there was no question where Bumgarner’s football loyalties lie.
“I love LSU and Saints football,” Bumgarner said showing off his own purple and gold T-shirt, which was part of the dress code for his party. “Everyone had to wear LSU stuff because that was the theme to my party.”
Growing up a football fan and watching Ridley play for the Tigers isn’t the only reason he’s a fan, though. Bumgarner’s relationship with Ridley goes further than just being an ordinary fan.
“Stevan Ridley and I have the same birthday,” Bumgarner shouted excitedly when asked why he liked the Natchez native and current running back for the New England Patriots. “It’s cool he’s a hometown guy and that he’s really fast, but I like him more because we have the same birthday.”
The 10-year-old, fourth-grade West Elementary School student and Ridley both share Jan. 27 as their special day.
But even Bumgarner doubts Ridley got a cake as extravagant as his Mike the Tiger cake on his birthday.
“I didn’t know my cake was going to look that good,” he said. “When I walked in to the surprise that was the first thing I noticed.”
In order to transform their kitchen into an LSU birthday haven, Bumgarner’s mom, Wesee Idom, sent him to sleep over at his grandfather’s house the night before.
“It took me two days to get all this set up just right for him,” Idom said watching her son play with one of several purple and gold balloons floating around the kitchen. “We take birthdays pretty seriously around here, so I kind of always go all out for all my kids.”
The other memorable moment of the day came after the cake was cut when Bumgarner began to unwrap each of his birthday presents from family and friends.
One present, however, took the cake.
“I got my first cell phone today,” Bumgarner said holding up his new phone. “Now I can talk to my girlfriend whenever I want.
“I’ve already called so many people.”
Other presents that excited Bumgarner included a new pet rabbit, Thumpy, an assortment of toys and clothes and $150 in birthday money.
“He’s going to have to use that to pay his cell phone bill,” Idom quickly chimed in to answer the question of what he would be spending his money on.
That answer, however, was ignored by Bumgarner and given a more serious response.
“I’m going to buy a case for my new cell phone and maybe some other stuff for it,” he said staring at the illuminating screen of his new phone. “Maybe I’ll get some stuff for my airsoft guns, I haven’t decided yet I guess.”
After all his presents were opened and more cake was devoured, Bumgarner and his friends went to practice their jump shots on the basketball goal in the backyard of his house.
His mobility, however, was limited to one or two spots on the court because of a cast on his right foot from an injury he received while sliding down the stairs in his house.
But even a broken foot and cast couldn’t hold Bumgarner back from enjoying every minute of his birthday party.
“This is the best birthday I’ve ever had,” Bumgarner said. “Last year we went to the waterpark at Six Flags which was pretty awesome.
“But this year I got my cell phone, so I think this year was better.”