My family has two "birthday weeks": One in July, one in October. Being as this is the July one, we are partying like you wouldn't believe (all this is taking a toll on me, since my neck still isn't fully healed). Last night was my Dad's surprise party.
SaurKid and I got there just on time. Mom and Dad were due in another half hour. We were immediately swamped by family and friends we hadn't seen for a long time and, to our surprise, the crowd rapidly grew until it was standing room only. There were over 100 people there by the time Dad and Mom arrived.
The room was set up with at least 10 long tables, and a head table at the front. By the head table was a continual slide projection showing our family as we grew up and my father grew progressively balder. SaurKid watched it for a while as I murmered whispered in his ear. Finally he whispered back "I just realized something! There's a good chance I'll go bald, isn't there?"
"Since baldness is a hereditary trait passed through the female line, I'd have to say it's possible," I admitted. He grimaced.
The woman who had organized the party came by to tell everyone to take our places. SaurKid and I looked about for a place to sit, when she informed us that we were expected to sit at the head table. Good grief! SaurKid was nonplussed and all I could think about was the casual top and jeans I was wearing. Never the less, we took our places. About 90 people stared back at us. Thankfully, they turned out the lights and covered the slide projector. The room hushed. Mom and Dad had just been sighted.
"I hope this doesn't give grandpa another heart attack!" SaurKid muttered. Dad's best friend (and cardiologist) echoed him from a nearby table.
Within moments, they walked into the darkened room. The lights flashed on, and everyone yelled "surprise!" Dad gave the crowd a slow grin, and then began circling the room until the master of ceremonies demanded he take his seat up front. Mom simply looked startled. She later admitted to me that she had no idea that so many people were going to show!
After we sampled the buffet and visited with many of the people who were there, we settled back for the guest speakers who spoke of Dad in times and stories past. Some were hysterical, some poignant, but all were lovingly retold. Being as my father is quite famous in certain circles, there were many stories to go around.
The first speaker began, "When I first got the call to do this, I was on the road and my cellphone reception wasn't clear. I heard his name mentioned, and the date, and something about speaking here tonight. Well... given his age and his current state of health, I figured that he had just passed on and I was expected to give the eulogy! Since I haven't had the time to revise my notes..." (here he produced a stack of 3x5 cards and flipped dramatically through them) "...I will merely modify what I've prepared." He cleared his throat. "Dearly beloved..." he intoned.
It deteriorated rapidly from there.
After the speakers had done as much damage as possible, the gifts were passed around. By far, the best and most spectactular gift was a massive tarantula which was the size of a large seat cushion. Being a quirky scientist, Dad was very appreciative. I expect to see it hanging from the ceiling in his study when I go over to their house the next time.
It was yet another day of love and laughter, and a celebration of one more milestone which has been passed in our family. May there be many more to come.