Under the cover of 10,000 hogs, we pulled off the perfect surprise birthday party Saturday afternoon in Milwaukee.
Planned with military precision by a three-generational task force — the indomitable Grandma Peggy, Katherine and Erin — the party required coded messages on cellphones and layer cakes, thirteen helium balloons and a tiny human carrier just heavy enough to weigh them down, and a game waitress who kept the iced tea coming and the other patrons at bay.
In the end, all that subterfuge may have been wasted on a party guest who heard us singing “Happy Birthday” as she walked in the door, thought, “How nice, someone is having a birthday party,” and then amiably asked the hostess for a table for three.
Two things about my sister Kathy worked in our favor – her increasing fascination with Harley Davidsons and her lifelong gullibility.
The timing, worked out for days in advance, went like this: we arrived at the charming Silver Spring House on Grandma Peggy time, precisely 47 minutes early. Meanwhile, Kathy’s husband Keith and stepson Traveain stalled our guest of honor by taking her to the Harley Davidson 110 Anniversary Parade, which thrilled her, followed by a spontaneous trip to a tropical fruit market, which puzzled her, followed by an uncharacteristically slow meander down I-43, which confused her but not enough to raise any suspicions at all.
She mentioned that the car in the restaurant parking lot with the Illinois plates looked just like my sister Jenny’s, which, in fact, it was.
We’re big fans of birthday parties, happy surprises and my sister Kathy.
Join us in wishing her a Happy Birthday … on September 3rd.