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Thursday, January 19, 2012

My Friends are Unbelievably Sneaky, or My 50th Birthday, Part II

We have reservations for my 50th birthday.

“I don’t really feel like going out for dinner,” I say.

“You’re just upset,” Willie says.

I frown, stare out the car window. It’s less than a dozen blocks to the restaurant, but it’s winter, and I’m wearing a dress.

We pull up. “Maybe some people will come by for drinks,” I say hopefully. “Do you believe I’ve not gotten one single text today? Not one?”

Willie stares straight ahead.

“And where’s Mary? Why hasn’t she called back? Where’s Boggs? Where’s Amy?”

No answer.

A Dirty Bird (a vodka and olive juice martini) takes the edge off my anxiety, and by the time we’re through with dinner I’m only checking the front door every 10 minutes. No one has come.

“Let’s go home,” I say.

“Is that your phone buzzing?”

I check my phone. There’s a message. It’s Boggs. “Can u come get me at the Spring? My car won’t start! I’ll buy u a bday bloody b4 we go back to the Peacock. Pretty please? Oh & happy bday!”

I write back: “normally I would say too bad so sad what the hell are you doing at the spring without me but I’m feeling drunk and generous. Be there in 10.”

She writes back: “Thank u so much!!!”

I tell Willie about Boggs’ dead car. “Isn’t that weird? I mean, she knows it’s my birthday, plus she knows everyone at the Spring, including the bartenders. Why doesn’t she have them jump her car?”

Willie ignores everything I’ve just said. “We’ll have to stop at home first.”

“Why?”

“I have to use the bathroom,” he says.

I use that time to change into jeans. No point in jumping someone’s car in a dress. “You don’t have to come along,” I yell. “I can handle this.”

“No way,” he hollers. “I want another drink.”

And in 20 minutes, we are in the parking lot of the Spring.

I turn around in my seat. “Where’s her car?”

“We’ll just park,” Willie says. “We’ll figure it out.”

We go in through the back door, by the pool tables.

And I see Reba. What? Reba lives in Eagle Bend, four hours north.

I hear my name, followed by “hide!”, and four heads bob, then stand.

I know every face in the bar.

Mary comes rushing forward. “Surprise! Are you surprised?!” There’s Reba, and Rainy, and Amy and Boggs and Paula – from Wisconsin! And Peg and Steve and Dave and Bart and Ginny and Kathy and Kurt…

I burst into tears, hugging and kissing my way into the room.

“Paula! I thought no one remembered! Oh, Paula what are you doing here?”

Paula squeezes me. “Mary started working on this two months ago. Did you notice your parents are here?”

Two months? My parents? I turn around. My mother is smiling. My father is filming. “Hey, Pearl!” he shouts. “Over here! You’ve been found not guilty on all charges! Tell us how you feel!”

I bury my head into my mother’s neck. “I thought you forgot! I thought everyone forgot!”

My mother laughs.

My phone, in my back pocket, buzzes. “SURPRISE! Happy birthday! Love T”.

Everywhere I go there are outstretched arms, tears, and laughter.

I finally work my way back to Mary. I hug her. “Two months? You worked on this for two months?”

She smiles, tears in her eyes. “Didn’t you notice that we’ve not talked as much lately?”

“Of course I did!” I start to cry again. “I thought you didn’t need me anymore!”

Mary’s lips quiver, her bright blue eyes shine behind tears. “I was setting all this up, and you know how bad a liar I am! I couldn’t take the chance of you finding out!”

She hugs me, hard. “Enjoy yourself tonight.” She lets me go, and I start to walk away.

“Pearl?”

It’s Mary again, and I turn around.

“It was very hard, not talking to you.”

“I love you,” I say.

She smiles. “Aww, go on,” she says.

56 comments:

The Angry Lurker said...

Very nice and soppy.....

Ms Sparrow said...

I was going to say how lucky you are to have so many devoted friends, but then I remembered that luck had nothing to do with it. It's all about what a dear, loving and delightful person you are! Happy Birthday, Pearl!

Andrea said...

Lovely. Happy Birthday! It's nice to be remembered.

Glen said...

ya div! fancy not seeing that coming... ps your hair looks good in that pic

Yandie, Goddess of Pickles. said...

Awwh that's so sweet! Happy Birthday Pearl!

Shelly said...

Terrific! They really got ya. Wonder what they'll come up with for the 60th?!

Simply Suthern said...

What no arrows with names??

Really tickled the tears are happy tears.

Ya should've known better. Now everyone can get back to normal.

Happy Big'en

Leenie said...

That's what friends are for. (hmm, nice line for a song)

Ponita in Real Life said...

Aw!! That is so totally fabulous, Pearl!! Happy Birthday to YOU!!!!

CarrieBoo said...

*wiping tear from eye* How ace is that!

Laraine Eddington said...

I had a similar surprise when I turned 50 and I pull out the memory and dust it off ever so often because it always makes me happy. I'm so glad for you Pearl.

Green Girl in Wisconsin said...

A surprise! LOVE that!

Amber Star said...

You are well loved and you can't ask for more. *hug* :D

jabblog said...

That is so sweet it made me cry.

Symdaddy said...

So pleased you had a good time and good company as your eased your way into the 50's.

My 50th was a quiet affair ... no friends!

*Sigh*

ThreeOldKeys said...

i'm wondering if you are that easy to pull one over on ... or if Mary and gang are all well-practiced in avoidance and evade-ance.

either way, there was a Party and Pearl was the Girl.

[raising cup of tea] here's to the second 50 !!!

hurray for your loving friends, and happy birthday to you!

Amy said...

You're fifty, look like you're in your late thirties, and are surrounded by people who love you and are willing to travel in inclimate weather to prove it. You get what you give. Happy Birthday!

mybabyjohn/Delores said...

I knew it would end well. And now look at all the new blog posts you have.

terlee said...

Cool photo to remember such a fun and happy birthday party, though you'll carry the love from that night in your heart forever.

Happy 50th..!!

Eva Gallant said...

Aww....What a wonderful surprise! I'm glad they didn't forget your birthday!!!!

Joanne said...

Aww--made me tear up. What an undertaking for Mary! let the good times roll.

Deborah said...

Aaw that's just lovely, Happy Birthday Pearl ... and 50? Wow you look fantastic! :o) x

Belle said...

What a sweet surprise. It's wonderful to know people care. I loved that your mom and dad were there too.

Douglas said...

Very clever of you to play clueless.

And, yeah, where's the arrows and names in that picture? I find myself trying to figure out who some of the players are and knowing I am lousy at that game.

Sausage Fingers said...

Must mark that on my calender for next year...Cheers to you..
Sausage.
ps happy birthday

That gentleman's lady said...

How lovely :D You are loved, very very loved. Hope you felt it! Happy Birthday!

Susan in the Boonies said...

You made me cry.
Which one is YOU?
Which one is Mary?

Why didn't Mary call me?

That Mary: I love her anyway. She just didn't realize...

Cedar View Paint Horses said...

You're fiddy? Damn! I hope I look half that good at 50.

Happy b-day!

Craver Vii said...

LOVE the way it turned out! I was moved by the tribute from Mary, "It was hard not talking to you." That's so cool. What a neat friendship.

Tom G. said...

Awesome. Absolutely the best feeling in the world, to be crabby and full of self pity only to have everyone you know jump out and tell you they love you.

Happy 50th

Susan Flett Swiderski said...

Awwwwww. I love happy endings.

Suldog said...

Isn't that the best? MY WIFE has pulled off TWO surprise parties for me, and they were both tremendously gratifying and fun. I have no idea how she kept a straight face. I could never do it.

jenny_o said...

That is a whole lot of people!

Good on Mary - it IS hard not talking honestly with a good friend, and wondering what she might be thinking of you because of it ...

All's well that ends well, as the saying goes.

Wanderoke said...

What a beautiful room full of people who love and support you!

Sush said...

I KNEW IT I KNEW IT I KNEW IT! What special people you have in your life to have pulled this off without you suspecting...
Joy~

The Elephant's Child said...

Oh course they are sneaky, so are you. Equally of course and for the same reason they are loving, supportive friends. Tears aside, it sounds like a wonderful night. Happy Birthday again.

R. Jacob said...

Pear;
I was hoping it would end like that. From the looks of it you had one friend there to match every year you have been around, including mom and dad!

I am guessing Mary is next to you giving a hug to the guy who drove you around.

A wonderful end to a wonderful story.

ray

Blissed-Out Grandma said...

Woohoo! Great story, and great photo.

Gigi said...

Simply beautiful - as I wipe a tear or two away. It's wonderful to be surrounded by those that love you so very much!

Camille said...

I am SO LATE to the partay today and I just want to say...NAMES! I want NAMES to those splendid faces! Happy Birthday Pearlie Girl. You made me cry again dagabit - and I've only been home twenty minutes with one cocktail in hand. :-)

Rene Foran said...

Happy Birthday, Pearl
and you totally made me cry you little bugger

Rene

Austan said...

I'm laughing and crying with you. Happy Birthday, you very well-loved youngun. ;)

Steadfast Ahoy! said...

Fireworks and birthday cake-Happy Birthday. Surprise parties are the best when they really come as a surprise. Many happy returns, Pearl.
Rosemary

Michelle said...

Next time be sure to invite JUTHROUT!
ANSEA ROPYR...
Not to mention PENCHA.
RESSOA 's mad as hops with RIZAFF.
RONHES ACKEAD, too.
Ah well...the GYRIMM group in MAURO - OURCO send looooooooooove.

Dr. Kathy McCoy said...

What a wonderful surprise -- and what dear friends you have! Happy, happy birthday, Pearl!

Linda O'Connell said...

What a bunch of friends, and that Mary, well she rocks! Looks like you had a blast.

Crystal Pistol said...

I KNEW IT! I JUST KNEW IT! YAAAAAAY! :)

darlin said...

Awww, this is so touching and you deserve every last second your friend spent pulling this one off! Happy 50th Pearl!

Teresa Evangeline said...

Damn! I missed your birthday! Been out looking for my son's missing dog (we found him last night!) and haven't been visiting. So, Happy Birthday, belated though it may be, and many, many, many happy returns!

Pat said...

I'm late. Happy happy Birthday.
I'm tickled pink for you:)
Fifty? It's the new twenty five!

Green Girl in Wisconsin said...

You've got such grand pals--what a gift!

Daisy said...

LOL! I KNEW your friends were up to something!

Far Side of Fifty said...

Now that is a real group of friends! :)

vanilla said...

I juist knew there was a happy ending! Good. (I pulled that one on Spouse, who says she "hates surprises," for her 70th. She loved it.)

Pearl said...

:-) Late, but I am the one in the middle, front, directly behind the woman (Reba) sitting on the stage.

Mary is the little smiling head directly over my right shoulder. :-)

Flea said...

You're so loved, Pearl. :) Happy 50th birthday! You should celebrate all year.