Saturday, January 17, 2009

Turning 70 Piece of Cake

The day was a normal “get out of town for awhile” day. It is the kind of day when Sheila spends the money and I tolerate it. Sometimes I push the buggy for her and other times, I tell her I’ll wait on the bench up front while she goes about doing what women do in a store.
It is a fact that men can go into a store to shop, pick out what they want and be back outside in ten minutes flat, assuming the cashier lines are not extremely long and loaded with women who have been in the store for a couple of hours. That being the case, it might take 20 minutes, fifteen of which we wait for the women shoppers to check out.
This day, the 27th of December had been enjoyable, that is until I began to tire. She said, “I just want to run into WallyWorld for a few minutes.”
“I’ll just wait out here in the car,” I replied.
“Didn’t you say you wanted to get some shampoo?” she asked.
After an exaggerated sigh on my part, I asked her to pick it up for me, and she said for me to at least walk into the store with her. After another exaggerated sigh, I relinquished and said I would go in and wait for her on the bench. That seemed to make her happy. Go figure!
I didn’t even sit long enough to squirm and she was back with one small bag. I asked her what she bought, to which she replied, “Your shampoo!” Shaking my head in bewilderment, I asked her why she wanted to stop in the first place. She just threw her hands up and said she would do it later. You talk about looking a gift horse in the eye, I said, “Alright, let’s go.”
She jumped in the front seat and said she would drive. It was not dark, so I started to protest and decided it wasn’t worth the effort. “Do you want to get something to eat?” I asked.
“Yes. Let’s pull right in here and get some Italian,” she said.
“I meant something like a Krystal cheeseburger.”
“No. Let’s go in here.”
I was pretty tired by that time so I decided that sitting down would be good for me.
She walked in just like she owned the place and said something to the hostess. I followed her into a side room and then wham-o! As they say on television, I had been punked. The room was full of my children and grandchildren, decorated with balloons and ribbons and party favors.
If indeed I had a thought it was that someone had made a mistake, because my birthday was still four days away on the last day of the year. They quickly explained that this was the only time they could all get together and take me to dinner for my birthday. It seemed plausible enough to me, so we sat down at a very long table amidst a lot of laughter. I thought to myself what a great bunch of kids and grandkids. Everyone kept asking Sheila if she had been able to keep it from me, to which she replied that they all owed her a lot for putting her through the ordeal of keeping me from suspecting anything. I only smiled and thought she didn’t do anything except make me tired from shopping.
Children and grands kept coming by with wide smiles hugging and kissing me while wishing me a happy birthday. They also laughed at me a lot because they pulled it off on me. Keep in mind that it really wasn’t my birthday yet and I am quite old.
A couple of waiters began taking orders and before long we were all enjoying the Italian cuisine which all of us like very much. Afterwards, they presented me with a huge Red Velvet Cake—now I recall Sheila asking me a few days ago what kind of cake I would like to have on my birthday? It was pretty and it was tasty and the youngest of the grandchildren poked their fingers in it to make certain that it would be alright for PawPaw to eat it.
At this juncture, I might add that during my childhood my birthday was not celebrated with a party because it was too close to Christmas, however once Sheila and I were hitched that all changed because she said birthdays were always to be celebrated and she has stuck to that all these years. I really thought the kids would show up on New Years Eve—my birthday—and/or call to wish me a Happy one, so I was especially surprised and pleased with their love and generosity. But it had only just begun. They began to pass cards to me one at a time. The first one was a two-day stay, New Years Eve and New Years Day at the Orlando Marriott. I was thrilled, but secretly wondered why they didn’t make me reservations in Savannah, our favorite haunt. The next card dropped a couple of C-Notes from it and I thought OK! The next envelope was large and it had a couple of UGA Tee shirts, my favorite sports clothing right after the Red Devils. I was appropriately thanking them all for the gifts when they said there was one more. As I opened it I was stunned! There before my eyes were two tickets to the Capitol One Bowl where the Dawgs were going to play Michigan State. I was overwhelmed! I finally got it, but I was totally overwhelmed.
As I looked around with glistening eyes at my smiling, laughing family, I was truly touched at the best birthday I had ever experienced. MY son, Sam, Jr. and his family had driven down from Marietta; Sandra drove up from Tifton and Shannon from Cochran with her family. Sheri could not come from Ohio, Beth could not come from New Mexico, and Julie could not come due to illness in her family, but I was assured that all of them were co-conspirators in the deal.
Forget about the extra aches and pains from aging; Turning 70 was really a piece of cake.


Anonymous said...

What a wonderful surprise they pulled on you. Shows how much they really love you(both of you). I guess it WAS the best birthday party you have ever had.

Congratulations!!Hope you have at least 20 more, if the world last that long.


Sha said...

A small gift for the best Daddy in the world.

Lizzie said...

PawPaw! I can't believe you put those pictures in the Newspaper! It's okay... I love you to death! I can't wait til your next birthday! Love you!