Yesterday, my wife and I traveled to what was supposed to be a surprise birthday party for our granddaughter. When we arrived at our daughter's home, I noticed several cars with which I was unfamiliar, so I imagined they belonged to my granddaughter's friends. When we entered the house, there was the usual kitchen activity one would expect for a party, but I noticed there were no decorations.
Our daughter said everyone was out back by the pool, and she led us out to join the festivities. The first thing I saw as I walked out on the deck was what looked like about twenty-five people posing for a group picture. Much to my surprise, they yelled, "Happy Anniversary!" They had actually gathered to honor us on our fiftieth wedding anniversary which actually was the day before.
My wife and I were given "luau" attire, complete with a straw hat and leis. The deck, totally rebuilt for the occasion by our grandsons, was decorated with colorful lighting, tiki torches, and an inflatable palm tree. It was beautiful. Even a sudden downpour of rain made the event seem tropical. Later, the kids, grand kids, and great grand kids had a wonderful time in the pool.
There was enough food for an army of at least one hundred! I have never seen so much food for a family gathering. The food, a tropical/oriental menu, was awesome! There was a beautiful and tasty three-tiered "wedding cake" sans the bride and groom, shish kabobs, smoked pork loin, lumpia, fried rice, oriental salad, and several other delicious items, far too many to list (actually, I don't remember the rest - "half-timers" you know!). We were surprised, overwhelmed, and over stuffed!
Later, when everyone had finished eating, usually the time us old folks like to take a nap, my son-in-law announced that the theme of the party, being what it was, was a clue to the gift our family had for us. They are taking us on an all-expenses paid cruise to the Bahamas! We have never been on a cruise, and although I spent twenty years in the Navy which provided "free cruises," my wife and I had always wanted to go on one.
In our opinion, our surprise anniversary party was way beyond a success; it was clearly a work of love which I will never forget ("half-timers" or not!). I thank the Lord for giving our kids poor memories, much patience, and forgiving hearts as we were not the parents we would like to have been. Still, I thank Him more for working in our lives so that our family can see small glimpses of Christ in us. Thank you God, for a family made up of imperfect people who love each other!