Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Dad's Surprise 70th Birthday Party

Dad decided to turn 70 this year, so we decided that we should all come and celebrate with him. However, instead of showing up for the big day, we decided we should all converge on his office in the back of the tire store unannounced the day AFTER his birthday. The day of his actual birthday, most of us were driving/flying from remote locales, so it was tricky to call him up and wish him well. In fact, I had checked into an ultra-sketchy motel in Helena, Montana, and the kids were heading off to bed right then, so I went and sat in the car and called him up. He said afterwards that he was somewhat underwhelmed by the felicitations he received on the day from his children.

We made up for it the next day. When we marched into the store he just stared at us in shocked silence. You could almost hear the gears in his brain as he tried to compute what he was seeing. Mom was in on it, and she had booked off his afternoon with a phony round of golf, so he was able to head back to the house with us for the rest of the day.

Joel and fam were able to join us the following day, but Cam & fam were landlocked in Montana because he had been diagnosed with heart problems just a few days previous. He had gone to the doctor complaining about chest pains, and during the diagnostics, they had determined that he also had an early stage of Type II Diabetes, which prompted him to joke with the doctor about getting two major illnesses for the price of one. He said that the doctor had looked at him closely to see if perhaps he was losing his sanity under the stress of the news, because he doesn't know Cam's medical history like we do -- that Cam's sense of humour has plagued him (and us) since birth. Apparently, Dad had wanted to rush out to Montana to help out when he heard the news, but Mom had managed to convince him to stay put for a few days, giving the rest of us the chance to follow through on our surprise plans. When we stormed the store, we had Cam on speaker phone, so that was something.

On Friday we went boating and then we visited Gma Gloy's house in Aberdeen and had cake and ice cream while we waited for Joel & fam to arrive. Allyson and I waxed nostalgic for the good old days when we used to make epic road trips in the station wagon, where the seats were covered with bedsheets to protect from puke and we passed around the shallow lid from the big blue & white water jug. Whatever water you managed not to spill as it was passed back could help you wash down the Styrofoam cup full of dry cereal that you got to eat as a snack. One time Mom branched out and brought puffed wheat squares in an ice cream pail. Unfortunately, I puked into the ice cream pail, thus fulfilling my destiny to ruin every good snack ever (ie: spilling Sprite on the plate of Oreos on successive New Year's Eves).

Saturday we went to the park and enjoyed a picnic and were introduced to the game of Kubb, where you basically throw sticks around and have oodles of fun.

Naturally, any gathering at Gpa's house involves shooting. The kids lined up and shot arrows for quarters for hours and hours. It's a good thing we got him 70 quarters for his birthday, but I still don't think that was enough to fund all the shooting that was going on. At one point, Katie got a bit tired of pulling the string back on the bow and asked Gpa when she could shoot some guns. I think he was very proud. I know I was. He told her that there were too many kids running around to shoot guns, and she seemed okay with that.

Saturday night was the official birthday party, over at the chapel. Gramma Gloy and uncle Chris joined us for that one, and aunt Margo and cousin Charise made the trip from Boise to meet up with us all. It wasn't some massive dance competition or anything. It was a nice little family gathering to show Dad that we love him. I think it was just right for him. Charity made it extra special by hosting a game of Jeopardy with trivia about Dad. I think Chris knew more answers than anyone. At the end, it was awesome to hear from Dad, as he wiped a tear and thanked us all for being the people that we are. He said, "You make my life so great."

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