Sunday, January 25, 2009

Happy Birthday, Dad!

Well, on one count we got it wrong, but on all other counts we got it right.
My sister, brother, and I decided to spring a surprise dinner on our father this weekend for his birthday, which is January 28. There was a break in the Ohio weather so my sister and her husband drove up from Tennessee and got a hotel room in Dayton for the night. She's the one who hatched the plan, basically. All I had to do was lie, lie, lie. I told my dad we were busy on Sunday, our usual day of getting together, and could I join him for Mass on Saturday night instead? I suggested a church near Dayton, said maybe I'd take him to Skyline Chili after Mass for his birthday because he likes it and it's cheap. (Skyline Chili originates out of Cincinnati: chili, beans and cheese over spaghetti. Great combo!) He eats dinner out almost every night, but usually at a place that is far less "fast food" than that. He likes it, though. It would be fun to eat there for his birthday, just for kicks, I told him.
So my husband and I drove Dad to church. While we sat in the pew, waiting for Mass to begin, I excused myself to use the ladies' room. In the lobby I met up with my siblings, and we all walked in and sat beside and behind Dad. My brother lives in the Dayton area, and so Dad wasn't TOO surprised to see him join us. However, my sister touched his shoulder from behind and said, "Happy birthday." He turned around with a polite but reserved expression on his face, expecting to see a stranger there. Then he did a double take. "YOU'RE here! How did you get here?" Such happiness broke over his face as comprehension washed over him that all of us kids were there to celebrate with him. It was a gift to us all.
I said, "Well, we couldn't let your 75th go by without celebration, could we?"
Dad retorted, "I'm not 75! I'm 74!"
Ha! Well, the joke's on us. But we celebrated anyway.
We didn't go to Skyline. Maybe next time, dad. We took him to the Paragon Supper Club and enjoyed a fantastic meal seasoned with much laughter. Then we went to a nearby bar for another drink and more laughter. We were tired for the drive home but it was so worth it.
As the temperatures dipped once more into the teens, my sister quipped, "Next year, you're coming to MY house for the birthday party!" We decided we would--but maybe in March. This January stuff is for the--snowbirds!
Happy birthday, Dad! Dad & Boo photo by JulenaJo.

1 comment:

  1. Your Dad must feel so loved with all of you conspiring such a wonderful birthday surprise. I lost my dad in 1980, before I started painting. I have a treasured watercolor that he did during WW2 in a german prison camp with paints from a red cross parcel. I would so love to be able to share my painting endeavors with him now. Treasure every moment that you have your folks.