Wednesday, March 11, 2009

GOTCHA! by Terri

On August 17th, 2006 Jerry turned 50. In the spring of that year the kids & I began plotting the Ultimate Surprise Birthday Bash for him. It all started when we were looking through Lori & Jon's wedding photos. We came across a photo that we have nicknamed "the missing man formation." At each family gathering Jerry & his siblings always take a "sibling" photo in age order. In the missing man formation a space is left for the missing sibling. Seeing that photo made me realize that the Ultimate Surprise Birthday Bash would not be complete unless all of Jerry's siblings were present. Jerry was the third of six children and they had not been all together in 13 years! With this is mind the kids and I began plotting our big surprise. As soon as I mentioned our plans to Jerry's youngest brother Earl and his wife Karen they volunteered their home as setting for the day. I sent out a save the date letter to each of his siblings asking them to come to Texas at the end of August to help Jerry celebrate his big 5-0 at a Texas Style Bar-B-Q Picnic. One by one I began hearing from each family until all had agreed to come.

As we got closer to August we realized that Jerry was starting to get suspicious! So Dave decided that the only way to throw him off was to plan a second smaller party closer to his birthday at Mom & Dad's home. It too would be a surprise. We would invite friends and family that were not invited to the family Bar-B-Q. I e-mailed his siblings and asked them to call Jerry on the evening of August 14th with their regrets for missing his birthday party. This party was a huge success and totally fooled Jerry! He didn't have a clue that a second party was in the works. Several of his siblings called on the 14th with their regrets for missing this special birthday party. It was so hard to keep a straight face while I listened to their calls.

As the last week before the party arrived, I began buying the food & decorations for the big day and hiding them at Earl & Karen's house. Several family members generously helped me cook the food we would need for the day. On Friday after cooking all day, Kathy & I made a quick last minute trip to Costcos for all the stuff that couldn't be bought til the last minute and delivered those items and the food to Karen's. Burning a "stinky" candle helped hide the yummy smells of all the food I had cooked.

The biggest concern I now had was how to get Jerry to Karen & Earl's in the middle of the day on a Saturday. Earl came up with the solution. On Friday night Earl called & asked Jerry to come over on Saturday to help with a project for Karen. He needed to drill a hole in Karen's marble desk to hide the computer chords. He suggested that I come along and we'd eat lunch & then swim afterwards.

We arrived at the party right on time. Jerry immediately walked over to the desk to get started on their drilling project. One family at a time came strolling out of their hiding spot in Karen & Earl's bedroom saying "I hear you need some help drilling a hole." They came out in order of distance from Colleyville. Those living closest came out first. Only when Aleta & Larry who live in New Mexico came out of the bedroom did Jerry finally realise that something was up! The expression on his face was priceless when Dale & Carolyn who live in Florida came walking out of the bedroom. That's when I said "GOTCHA". It made all the plotting and hard work worth while. We had pulled off the Ultimate Surprise Birthday Bash!

Walk with God!


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