I WISH I COULD REMEMBER if I've already told you about Mr. Bob's fiftieth birthday surprise party. Somewhere there are photos that could be scanned but I don't know how to lay my hands on them.
We rarely entertained in our own home. I envied hostesses who knew how to do it, but alas, I was not one of them. But that year, I got it into my head that a grand celebration was called for and I arranged to stage it in Glendale's Civic Auditorium.
I planned for it to be a month after his Christmas Eve birthday, the better to fool him and Christopher designed the invitation and then the flyer that we sent through the mail, announcing that a Square Dancing class was starting. We mailed it only to ourselves and to my mother's address, just down the street. She had died the October before, but her mail was forwarded to our house. Sometimes I think it's shameful to be so good at deception. It took a little doing, but I talked Mr. Bob into attending.
If memory serves me correctly, I had to arrange for a bartender or two, a security guard, a square dance caller who specialized in helping people who had never indulged in that particular amusement.. 150 people came. I arranged for them all to be given kazoos.
On the night of the "class", Mr. Bob stopped at the service station across from the auditorium and for the first time ever, decided to figure out his gas mileage before we left the gas pump. I was ready to jump out of my skin. When at last we drove into the parking lot, Mr. Bob made the observation that square dancing certainly didn't draw as many participants as the ballroom dance lessons we'd attended.
As we entered the auditorium, "Happy Birthday" greeted us on all those kazoos. I remember how overwhelming it was to me, the planner, to see all those beloved, familiar faces. I can't imagine what Mr. Bob's reaction was; he's not now and never has been one to talk about his feelings. His hairdresser sister from up north grabbed him, put a beautician's cape on him and sprayed his hair silver for the occasion.
It was a splendid evening with a wonderful cross section of people. I remember wondering how it would seem for Jesus to square dance with a vice president of Lockheed Aircraft, but it worked beautifully as an ice breaker.
All too soon it was over. And now it's just a memory; for me at least, a happy one.
“Middle age is the time when a man is always thinking that in a week or two he will feel as good as ever.”
~ Don Marquis