No one ever gave me a surprise party â€“ that is, until last night.
My friend Ken, the anal-retentive â€œcruise director,â€ and the Original Bill (each with spouse in tow) picked us up last night for what was to be just a laidback dinner in a newly discovered, comfortable, family owned restaurant. It is a BYOB place, so I was carrying three bottles of nice red wine in a bag. We had the usual laughs in the car on the way to the place, and it promised to be a nice, friendly, quiet way to end what was a pretty busy week.
As we entered the place, I made the necessary right turn and then a second right turn in the direction of the table where we have been seated in the past. As I made the second right turn, I heard â€œSURPRISE,â€ and I could see that a bunch of the Usual Suspects had assembled in advance. I also saw that daughter TJ was there with her husband, J. Even one of the Usual Suspects, who was out of state playing lots of golf and drinking lots of vodka, called in at that moment to say â€œHappy Birthday.â€
There were plenty of well wishes, hugs, handshakes and lots of laughter.
I was completely flabbergasted and very touched by it all.
After an excellent dinner, which was accompanied by, cocktails (some of the Usual Suspects brought vodka), wine and more and more laughs, out came a beautiful, enormous, custom decorated cake.
After the dinner part of the evening was over, we headed off to a local and most excellent VFW Post, where we had more than a few drinks, some primo cigars, courtesy of Bill the Ham, and a few rather hilarious games of shuffleboard.
It was a very special night â€“ one that I will never forget.