Dec 22, 2012

The Element of Surprise

At the time of my last post, I knew that Brock (my 12-year old son) and I would be flying to California on the 13th of December. My mom had planned an elaborate surprise party for my dad's 80th birthday and we were part of the secret. I had taken an oath of silence.

Once in California, we stayed with Bret (my baby brother) until the December 16th party. We became busy birthday elves.

The surprise element had been compromised due to a longtime neighbor, Mr. B, who had called my parents directly to express regrets. He had also discussed the party with an uninvited neighbor who promptly wished Dad a happy 80th birthday. Dad became suspicious. Bret handled damage control, manufacturing major fibs and distractions.

On the day of the party, Bret drove Dad to church. A pastor invited them both to attend a Christmas celebration (which was really Dad's party) at the El Dorado Park Golf Course. Dad was open to going.

When Bret entered the golf course parking lot, who should they see but Mr. B! The neighbor who had spilled the beans was slowly approaching the coffee shop. We learned later that Mr. B was only delivering Dad's birthday card. Our father knew that Mr. B frequently ate breakfast at the restaurant so he suspected nothing.

Then Bret noticed my parent's van parked in front of the event tent! Quickly, he asked, "Dad, is your nose bleeding?" Dad became concerned about his nose, never seeing the van, and Bret was able to maneuver to another spot.

SURPRISE! The party was a wonderful success! Kent (my middle brother) MC'd our family's version of This Is Your Life. Even my Dad's 88 year old sister, Pat, whom he had not seen in 25 years, was in attendance. The Gaslight Chorus sang beautiful renditions of songs Dad grew up with, intermingled with Christmas selections. There were photos, special tributes, and more surprise guests. Mission accomplished.