Daily Dose of Sweetness: Ms. Rosemary’s surprise birthday

A woman in red waves from a porch with balloons.
Rosemary Nevils waves from the porch of her St. Paul home as cars of friends and family drive past wishing her a happy birthday on Wednesday.
Evan Frost | MPR News

Rosemary Nevils was not expecting much of a celebration for her 71st birthday. Social distancing during the pandemic led her to give up any hope of a traditional birthday party.

Little did she know that her daughter, Raeisha Williams, and friend Nekima Levy Armstrong had a surprise in store for her. Just after 3 in the afternoon on Wednesday, a line of cars paraded in front of her St. Paul home with horns honking and classic party anthems from James Brown thumped.

At one point The Cupid Shuffle broke out. It was a party.

Nevils has been a staple of her community for decades. She’s a third generation Minnesotan who is referred to as “Ms. Rosemary” by her friends and family. 

She and her daughter, Raeisha Williams, moved to St. Paul last year from north Minneapolis to be closer to their restaurant, Heritage Tea House. Her son, activist Tyrone Williams, was killed outside of their Minneapolis home in 2018. 

Nevils spent her birthday waving and smiling from the porch before descending to the street to share a dance with her 23-month-old grandson, Rocky.


From acts of kindness and sweet gestures to inspirational signs, these are some of the ways Minnesotans are lifting one another during the coronavirus pandemic.

Discover something that brightens your day? We may include it here. Email it to nyang@mpr.org.

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