Yet I threw one yesterday for my husband’s 70th birthday. But I learned something that I want to share with all of you other people who hate them. I realized that the worst part of surprise parties is how to get the star out of the house and keep him or her out until the party is set up and everyone is behind the couch and in the closets waiting to jump out and yell, “Surprise!” So, instead, my daughter Heidi and I arranged to have all of the party stuff to be brought in by guests. One couple packed all the beverages I bought into their coolers. Heidi gathered and got help to bring the food we would need. She had to prepare some foods ahead but left most of it to put together after the party started. She took care of the paper products, the cake and balloons, too. The kids made signs to put on the road to direct people to the party. We would need extra tables but we didn’t bring them from the neighbor who lent them until after the party started and one of our guests went with his truck to pick them up.

It was a quiet Sunday yesterday and Bernie was bored. He wanted to go out and do something, but my daughter from out of town, Kate, had told him that she and Jerry would be stopping by en route to do some business nearby. This kept him home. As it turned out, Fiddler on the Roof was on PBS so Bernie parked in his easy-chair and started sorting pieces to work a new puzzle. Kate and Jerry arrived about an hour before the party.

My daughter Heidi had arranged for some of the people to meet at the end of the driveway (ours is ¼ mile long and the end is hidden from the house by trees). We were standing around the kitchen talking, suddenly we heard the sound of “Happy Birthday” coming from outside. Kate said, “What’s that?” and Bernie turned and headed out the front door where a crowd of 20 or so folks were singing their hearts out to the old man.

Of course, there are always a few problems, like having to lie. My daughter put on Facebook, “My parents taught me not to lie. I can’t wait until 2 o’clock when we can all come clean.” I wanted the house to be somewhat clean before the event. Heidi had came over during the week (I had gone on a retreat) and she did some serious cleaning. She told Bernie she wanted to pay us back for putting her up for a month. There was a little cleaning to do the day of the party, but I was careful not to overdo. I am not that good of a housekeeper – too perfect would have been out of the ordinary. I started to pick up the garage a bit and stopped myself. This was his territory, I told myself. Better let it be.

Shortly before two, a couple came to the door, early for the party. I wasn’t sure quite what to do. But they walked in as though this were perfectly fine and said, “We hear someone is having a birthday soon,” and handed Bernie a card. We welcomed them in…and they got into the conversation perfectly…no explanation needed. Bernie really thought they were just being nice people who heard he was soon to turn 70.

Once the party started, people jumped in to put it together, set up tables, put food into bowls, make coffee, get the grill started, bring chairs out of the house. I realized how much people like helping. It was grand.


6 thoughts on “I HATE SURPRISE PARTIES!”

  1. Good job Grandma! Wish I could have been there to see Grandpas face! Love and miss you both!

    1. Wouldn’t that have been a surprise for Grandpa to see you marching up the driveway all the way from Australia!

  2. I too hate surprise parties. For Bill’s 60th , 11 years ago I went all out,which included making all the food, cleaning, inviting 60 people including out of town guests, and hiring a barber shop quartet. Bill hates to be center of attention. The party turned out great, but for me was way too much work so I decided if there were to be anymore parties, they would be held at a restaurant, where someone else cleans and cooks.
    Happy Birthday Bernie!

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