Just after Maxine Rathman woke up Tuesday, she got a phone call from her son, Doyle, asking her to open her curtain.
When she looked outside, she found a surprise birthday greeting.
Doyle Rathman and his four siblings paid the company Card My Yard to give their mom a big congratulations on her 88th birthday. She lives in the independent living portion of Good Samaritan Society — Grand Island Village.
Later in the day, Doyle Rathman and two other siblings who live in Wood River took turns visiting their mother.
They sat on chairs on the cement patio outside her room, separated from their mother by a window.
In addition to the colorful signs, someone wrote some happy messages on the nearby sidewalk. One chalk message stated, “This too shall pass,” referring to the coronavirus. Other chalk messages stated, “We stay strong” and “We love you.” One drawing was of a rainbow.
Besides Doyle Rathman, the other children who live in the Wood River area are Lynette Koelzer and Sherryl Gannon.
The other kids are Jolene Bergman of Leavenworth, Kan., and LuCinda Ostransky of Athens, Texas,
Maxine Rathman moved into the Good Samaritan facility in November 2018. Her husband of 69 years, Merlin, passed away in January 2019, at 94.
Maxine and Merlin spent all 69 years living on their farm northeast of Wood River.
Maxine was born at home, 6½ miles north of Shelton.
The company that put up the signs is operated by Alysha and Brady Penas. Since November, they have been the local franchisees of Card My Yard.
The Penas are a busy couple. Alysha works full-time as a dental hygienist at Kelly Family Dentistry. Brady is a master plumber.
They have two sons — Wyatt, 3, and Wesley, 1.
The Penas, who are Grand Island natives, serve people who live in the 68803, 68801, 68832, 68865, 68872, 68980, 68841, 68901, 68954, 68873, 68824 and 68818 zip codes. The signs remain standing for 24 hours.
For information, visit www.facebook.com/cardmyyardgrandisland.
The cost of birthday signs start at $70. “Say anything” signs start at $80.
The company also has a collection of signs that are designed to bring joy in general.
Also on Tuesday, Card My Yard set up a “Happy Birthday” sign on Brahma Street. The Penas also set up a collection of “joy bringer” signs in their neighborhood. Those signs deliver such messages as “Don’t worry, be happy” and “Life is good.”