In which Spider’s Dad gets a surprise

We had a surprise party for my dad yesterday. On July 5, he will be 70 years old and that’s pretty impressive, considering he’s had this chronic cancer thing for the last 10+ years, among other things. We call him Pudra, and my mother is Mudra for reasons only my sister can explain.

For the party, I printed and cut out photos of my dad’s face and glued them onto popsicle sticks so that when he came in, people would hold them up like masks. On the back were several things about my dad – his favorite book/musician/movie, stuff like that. They also doubled as fans which was good because it has been hovering at about eleventy skillion degrees here in Kentucky over the last week.

It turned out well – he was surprised, and happy to see so many friends. In attendance was a guy my dad went to grade school with. Since I majored in English, I don’t know how many years that is but I do know that I am not that close to anybody I went to grade school with that they will come to my 70th birthday party. I have some high school friends who I’m still close to, but grade school, not so much. Most of the group was my parents’ friends from church, but there was a big family contingent and then some other friends.

I did not know that Pudra’s favorite book is Lord Jim. I’ve not read this one, though I did enjoy Heart of Darkness. His favorite flower is a daisy, color: blue, movie: Grapes of Wrath, motto: Live free or die, historical figure: Abraham Lincoln, fictional character: Uncle Pumblechook from Great Expectations. The things you learn…

I’ve taken part in a few surprise parties. Some of them have been amazing. One that I didn’t have any part of was a disaster. My sister-in-law wanted to have a surprise 50th birthday for our mother-in-law. Don’t do it, we said – she HATES surprises and she HATES being the center of attention. She’s also rather vain and would rather not have anyone know she’s not actually 29. Not only did sister-in-law go ahead with the party, someone bought a huge bag of black over-the-hill gag gift merchandise. It was so awkward, sitting around watching someone unwrap black plastic item after black plastic item and being incredibly embarrassed and upset by it all. And mother-in-law didn’t pull any punches when sister-in-law asked how she liked the party. “I didn’t really want a surprise party, I don’t like surprises.” Wah-waaahhhhh.

My sister Boot and I laughed about the time we threw Mudra a surprise party. It was Pudra’s job to take her to the movies at, like, 1:30 or something. They were supposed to arrive home around 3:15 so we told guests to arrive at 3 or so. 3:00 came, 3:15, 3:30…Boot and I were draining the wine we’d brought for the party as guests asked, “Will they be here soon…?” Finally, around 4:30, they came in. They’d missed the 1:30 show and gone to a slightly later viewing of a longer movie.

And the time that Boot’s job was to keep Pudra at the swimming pool so Mudra and I could prep for his 50th birthday surprise party. Pudra wanted to come home early so Boot went into delay mode by going to wash her hair and stayed in the bathroom so long, Pudra started sending search parties into the locker room to find her.

I will never throw Husband a surprise party because like his mother, he loathes surprises. It’s all I can do to keep him from finding out about his Christmas gifts. This makes me a little sad. I adore surprises and I love throwing parties.

My parents tried to throw me a surprise party once. I was about 17 and I knew it was happening. The dead giveaways: the night before, I went upstairs to go to bed and I heard all three of my family members cleaning up downstairs. A vacuum at 10:30 means a party in our house. Then my best friend was supposed to keep me out of the house and her car went wonky. She was freaking out. I suppose I could’ve said, “I know it’s a surprise, don’t worry about it.” It was only  4 or 5 people in the living room.

Pudra’s surprise party went really well. I wonder who will be next to be surprised.





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