My husband, Dave’s, 60th birthday was Tuesday, October 30. This past June, I contacted his family via email and invited everyone to come the weekend prior to his birthday for a celebratory weekend. Within a few hours, I had received acceptances from everyone. Dave’s brother, Bruce and his wife, Pat, his sister Jean and her husband Alex, his cousin Denny and his wife Kay, and his very best friend in the whole wide world, Mark, and his wife Jackie, all were coming. Bruce and Pat would drive in on Friday October 26 from Vero Beach, Florida; Denny and Kay would drive in from Charleston, SC and Jean and Alex would fly in from Pittsburgh. On Saturday, Mark & Jackie would drive in from Myrtle Beach.
As the weekend drew closer plans progressed. Bruce suggested that we all meet at a local restaurant on Friday night to surprise Dave. The family would arrive first and then Dave and I would arrive at 6:30. They had a table reserved in the back of the restaurant and everyone wore masks so he would not immediately recognize them. When we rounded the corner, and everyone yelled “Surprise!” “Happy Birthday!” Dave was speechless. He had no idea who this group of people was until his brother pulled off his mask. The look on Dave’s face was priceless! I had done it – managed to pull off a major surprise without spilling the beans! We had a wonderful night – lots of laughter, fun, fellowship and the food was delicious! I had a minor mishap as we left the restaurant, but that’s another blog for another day.
On Saturday, the family came by in the early afternoon to check on me and then later gathered again at our house for more fun, Georgia football and a delicious chili supper prepared by my son Kyle and his girlfriend, Angela, with some help from my daughter Kim. We had one surprise left up our sleeves. When the family came back the second time, they brought Dave’s friend Mark and his wife Jackie, who had arrived at the hotel earlier that afternoon. Dave was still upstairs so I told them to quickly go downstairs so Dave wouldn’t see Mark. Once they were downstairs, I called for Dave and he came on down. He didn’t see Mark at first, so Mark walked up to him and said “I can’t believe I drove six hours to see you only to find out you were taking a nap!” Dave’s jaw hit the floor – another priceless, Kodak moment. We were also pleased to welcome dear friends of Bruce and Pat’s – Dave and Debbie Bovin who live in the same city as we do.
Sunday was a relaxing, quiet day. Denny & Kay and Mark and Jackie had to leave for home, but Bruce, Pat, Jean and Alex were still here. We just sat around and talked, enjoyed each other’s company and watched the Falcons win. Bruce carried us all to dinner later Sunday evening and they headed back to the hotel and we headed home.
That weekend was the first time the three siblings had been together in two years, and even much longer since all of them had been together. That won’t happen again. The siblings decided that every April, we will all meet in Vero Beach, at Bruce and Pat’s. Dave and I are already looking forward to next April.
There were a couple of reasons I wrote this blog. I know that most people will not be interested in the surprise party of the year. But I wanted to honor Dave one more time for his birthday, and I knew this would be a good way to do so. I also wanted to encourage all my readers to not wait to get together with your family – especially if you live in different parts of the country. The holidays are upon us and this is a great time to see your family, fellowship, mend relationships if needed. We do not know what tomorrow will bring – much less the coming year – so call your parents, your sisters and brothers and make this holiday season the best family time you’ve ever had.