Thursday, August 5, 2010

TRIBUTE ...part 1

In December of 1996 my parents would celebrate their 50th wedding anniversary. We, the eight children, wanted to surprise them, so we planned their party for the July before, knowing that they wouldn't be expecting it then.

We invited everyone they knew, reserved a local restaurant and booked our tickets home. Now my hometown is VERY small, so we were overjoyed when we realized that NO ONE ruined the surprise.

One by one we started trickling in throughout the day. Were my parents ever surprised?!?!? One brother even called as he exited the highway, acting like he was still back in California and saying how he missed them so much. My mother's mouth was wide open, in shock, when he walked in the house 10 minutes later.

My father slowly started to catch on as more kids came home, but my mother was just as shocked for number 8 as she had been for number 1. With most of my siblings having children by that time, and the fact that we were spread across the country from California to North Carolina, it was no small feat to get us all together at the same time.

We made them believe the surprise was us all being home at the same time. Little did they know that when we took them out to dinner the following night, the entire town would show up too. My sister even tracked down a navy buddy, of my dad's, that he hadn't seen in over 20 years. The first thing they saw when they walked in the door was my mom's wedding dress and my dad's navel uniform on manikins in the corner (We even cut out pictures of their faces and put them on the manikins.). They both cried when they saw how many people had turned out to honor them.

It was also very fortunate that we had the party in July, because my 94 year old, Great Aunt Harriet (my grandfather's sister), who was the life of the party, would die in October of that same year and if we had waiting until December, we would have all missed out on seeing her so vibrant, one last time.

Come back tomorrow for part 2....

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