Tuesday, February 03, 2009

Mission Accomplished!

Two of the men that sit with dad at meals are developmentally disabled. Danny and Phil are wonderful guys and my brother and I consider them family. Two of Danny and Phil's favorite things are parties and birthdays. How convenient that the two go so well together!


A month or so ago, I was feeding dad lunch and Danny asked when my brother's birthday was. I told him it was coming up and that he would be 55. Danny said (and Phil agreed immediately) that we (meaning me) should put on a birthday party at the nursing home for him.

I thought about it for a few minutes and agreed, adding that I thought it ought to be a "surprise" party because I knew that Mike would not let us make a fuss over him if he knew about it.

For weeks we plotted and planned. I had serious doubts that we would pull it off as a surprise, since after all, the people doing the planning (including and possibly most noticeably, me) were in various stages of senility.

As time drew nearer, I went around to the staff and residents to invite them all the the event, which was to be held at 3PM on Sunday, February 1. A gigantic cake was ordered and ice cream purchased. Napkins and plates, banners and presents were aquired and still Mike had no clue what was going on.

The plans were finalized the morning of the big day. Cousin Kay and the kidcousins were bringing the ice cream and picking up the cake. It was my job to deliver Mike to the nursing home by 3, WITHOUT him realizing that something was afoot.

It was a beautiful morning. The sun was shining, the coffee was delicious as was the breakfast I managed not to burn. We puttered about, doting on the animals, doing some laundry and paperwork.

I had already told Mike that our friend Joyce was going to be at the nursing home for the Super Bowl party that afternoon and he had agreed to meet her there to show her some school photos that we had found in Uncle John's house when we were cleaning it out.

Around 2:15 we were ready to leave Absarokee and drive the 14 miles to Columbus to the nursing home. Cousin Kay and I were discretely text messaging back and forth as Mike drove toward out destination. Kay had accidently left her purse in a restroom in Billings and had gone back to retrieve it, but was once again on her way to set things up for the party.


About half way to Columbus Mike suggested we walk his dog at her favorite fishing access along the Stillwater River. Not being able to come up with a plausible reason why not to, I said (grudgingly) "Sure".

Mike rambled on and on about a huge tree he had seen on his last visit. It had fallen across a large rock at the end of the footpath and he wanted to get a photo or two of it.

When we got to the end of the trail, I had to admit to myself that it was quite a sight and well worth being a few minutes late to the party.

As usual when I am outside, the time slipped away from me. We walked and admired the beauty of the Stillwater River.

Shasta, in all her glory, frolicked along the river's edge...

I, obviously, took some pictures and Mike did too...

Shasta found something to roll in on the ice and we laughed at her exhuberance...

We finally got a little chilly and began walking back to the car.

I was relieved, to say the least, when I got back to the car and saw a text message from Kay saying that she and the kidcousins had arrived at the nursing home and the party was set up and ready for our arrival.

I sent her a quick text telling her we had been way-layed and would be there in 15 or 20 minutes, so imagine my dismay when Mike suggested we take his car to the carwash before going to see dad.

I hid my frustration well, however, so well in fact, that after we washed the car (you should have seen me spraying and barking orders at Mike...it was quite comical and by the end of it both Mike and I were drenched), we stopped at the grocery store for bread and milk.

We finally arrived at the nursing home, only 45 minutes late and one of the nurses sent Mike to the dining hall in search of Gramp. Imagine the look on his face when he saw 40 or so people and this....

Yes, folks, he was surprised!

A good time was had by all...

Especially THESE GUYS (from clockwise; Gramp, Phil and Danny)!



Ponita said...

Phew! I'm glad it worked out... I was beginning to think you wouldn't make it there at all!

Looks like it was a lovely party!

Anonymous said...

The party goers deserve a hug for not diving into the cake ahead of time!

Squirl said...

Wow, I give you so much credit for pulling that off. I would have cracked when he kept suggesting doing other things. He'd have seen what a frantic mess I was and I'd have had to confess.

So, good for you! And I'm glad everyone had a good time.

Ur-spo said...

what a lovely looking party and table spread.
You are a dear person for doing so much work!

Merrily Down the Stream said...

Oh my - I would have been anxious. Way to pull it off.

TigerYogiji said...

That was so nice! Thank goodness that it worked out in the end! :)

Ginnie said...

BRRRRRRRRRRR....some of those photos gave me a chill...but the great celebration warmed my heart, as I'm sure it did for everyone!