Whew! Got through another birthday without a surprise party. After that surprise in the year 2000, I will forever suspect……
Written in November, 2000
You’ll never believe what happened at our house last week. I can hardly believe it myself, and sometimes wonder if it was all a fantastic dream. It was Saturday morning and Harvey and I had been invited to lunch at the Kline’s house — just the two of us, and not the kids. We left home at about 10:30, had a pleasant lunch and discussion, then started for home at about 1 PM. I did think it rather strange that the Kline kids were not at home, but didn’t give it another thought.
We live on a very long and narrow gravel lane, and as we approached our house I noticed that the landscape didn’t seem right. “Drive faster,” I urged Harvey. We soon saw that our property was surrounded by large vans. There was even one parked in the back yard. How strange! How bizarre! It must be the police, or possibly the ATF, finally, after all these years, about to arrest us for homeschooling, and they brought the vans to load us all up and take us away, and they were only waiting for Harvey and me to arrive home. “Drive faster, Harvey.”
Now, Harvey was thinking something entirely different. He thought it was hunters who needed to park their cars somewhere. “No way,” I insist. It had to be something serious and very, very dangerous. We drive into the driveway, and I’m out of the car before he stops. And who should run out of the house at we pull up, bur Ava — dressed in her best dress. How strange! How bizarre! Why does she want to wear her best dress for the police. “Come in quickly,” she says. “Are there people in the house?” I ask. “Did you clean the bathroom?” Why I would be worried about the bathroom at a time like this, I’ll never know. I guess it must be one of those automatic and primordial thoughts. “You’ll see,” she smiles. Open the back door. Pass through the porch. What are those piles of little bitty shoes doing here? There must be kids here. How strange! Why would government agents be bringing their kids with them? Into the kitchen.
People filled the entire house. Dozens of people. And there is a camera, too. “What’s going on here?” I ask, rather loudly and animatedly. These people look familiar. Who’s that behind the camera. Why, it’s Mark P. What’s he doing here? Where am I?
What was happening to me is called cognitive dissonance. What you think should be happening, is not what is actually happening, and the mind responds to this dilemma by going into a temporary shock. And of course everyone is laughing. They have totally and royally surprised me by this one-month-before-our-anniversary party. There are lovely cakes and candies, purple and green decorations, presents, and most of all, all these people, 75 in all by the day’s end. And here come the Kline’s driving in right after us.
So, let the party begin. Visiting with old friends we haven’t seen in a long time; Johannah, Ava, and Helena singing our favorite songs; Hans and Nate and Mike and Larry playing their guitars with everyone singing. They even made Harvey and me sing the Crawdad Song, although I protested that it was my party and I didn’t have to sing if I didn’t want to.
I feel thoroughly awed that our dear friends and our children would honor us in such a way on our anniversary. I think I would have cried more if it weren’t for the shock. It was a truly marvelous day — one I will remember all of my life. Laurie Bluedorn (Nov, 2000)