Turning Fifty at Our Little House
My mom used to say, “The only alternative to getting older is dying young and no one wants to do that.”
Dale marked a milestone birthday this weekend, turning 50. Once upon a time we were naïve young 15 & 18 year olds with our whole lives ahead of us and in a flash, it seems, we’ve grown to ages we thought then to be ancient.
Dale thought the weekend would pass quietly, relaxing at Our Little House, enjoying some of this wonderful late winter thaw we’re getting now.
He couldn’t have been more wrong.
I thought before this weekend that the biggest inconvenience of having Our Little House is not being able to entertain more than another couple at once. When I first thought of throwing Dale a surprise birthday party, I was wishing I could hold it at our house as I did his 30th.
Since many of our friends would have to drive from Kansas City, I planned it in Branson, saving them more drive time.
Dale’s favorite BBQ place in Branson is Famous Dave’s and they were very accommodating. (I know, readers, no going vegetarian this past weekend!) I called and emailed a few close friends and many were eager to get away for the weekend, so I checked with the fabulous Branson Hilton Convention Center, within walking distance of the Branson Landing where Famous Dave’s is located, and got a group rate.
It was a killer keeping the secret from Dale for over a month and I was more than anxiety ridden when snow started to pile up first in the Springfield-Branson areas and then here at Our Little House last week.
By the end of the week, I knew the spring warm up would allow the trip for everyone, including us. The next trick was coming up with a lie so Dale couldn’t say no to the trip (I told him I was talking to some folks about writing gigs there).
Do you know the scene from the movie from “Christmas Vacation” where Clark Griswold (Chevy Chase) sees Cousin Eddy and says, “Eddy!!??” when he couldn’t believe his cousin-in-law was actually standing on his lawn?
That was the look on Dale’s face when he saw 10 of our friends and his sister and brother in law sitting at a restaurant 5 hours from where he thought they should be.
It was truly a priceless moment, especially since Dale is no easy customer to surprise.
After dinner, which included presents and a cake that had a photo of him at about 15 on it, we reassembled the party in the bar at the Hilton. I was ready for that sunken tub by the time we all went to our separate suites!
Everyone was happy to get out of the city for a weekend and do a little shopping and relaxing in Branson before the party. We also came home not just thankful for our wonderful friends, but energized from a weekend away.
Just goes to show that even what can be perceived as a negative – having too small of a space for entertaining – can be turned into another opportunity to Live Large!
Have you ever planned a surprise party for someone? How did you keep the secret? Did anyone spill the beans on you? If you have a small space, how do you work around it to entertain?