So Bob finally turned 50 on September 14th and I got my chance to pull off a big surprise birthday bash for him.
This past weekend, when I was supposed to be at the 35th reunion of Mission San Jose High School's Class of 1975 (gad!), I was instead running around like a crazy woman pulling all the details together (with inestimable help from my daughters and their friends Sam, Chelsea and Casey - and many other wonderful friends) for one big this-is-the-last-time-I'm-ever-going-to-do-anything-like-this-so-you-had-better-enjoy-it birthday party for Bob.
Since Bob is, in his heart, a performer, what could I possible give him at the half century mark other than his own show? With the help of incredibly talented musician friends (thank you Tim, Julian, Cece, Billy, Ryan, and Linda), Bob got the chance to show off his many talents (singing, tap dancing, guitar playing) for a captive audience of family and friends who had no choice but to watch. I hasten to add that no one had to twist his arm. Even a little bit. And he did not disappoint.
His brother Richard flew in and in addition to serenading him with a favorite Beatles song, chose a song that both of them knew but had never sung together (in fact, they had never sung together at all!) After that, Richard challenged Bob to an impromptu tap dance - amazing! And then, for the next 30 minutes Bob performed a number of tunes that he knew well and that I had pre-selected so that he wouldn't be caught with his proverbial pants down.
Speaking of pants, given the shoddy state of his wardrobe (he'll garden in his good trousers), I had bought him two outfits for the weekend. Bob had been led to believe that I was going to give a small birthday dinner party for him on Sunday (the day after the real party). I bought him a pair of putty colored pants with a light blue shirt for the "party" on Sunday. He had also been led to believe that he had been hired to "sing at a wedding" on Saturday -the idea being that he would show up to perform at the wedding and actually arrive to his own party. So the other outfit I bought him was a pair navy pants with an eggshell colored shirt - and knowing that I would already be waiting with guests at the site while he was getting ready, I told him specifically that that outfit was "for the wedding". I made a point of showing him how the light blue shirt did not go with the navy pants. But that is what he wore. Ah well, it was dark. Who would notice. Frankly, I was lucky he didn't go "commando".
After Bob performed, the DJ took over (unending thanks to Casey, who came all the way from U of A to help!) and everyone of us more or less mid-century persons got our party on and danced until the city ordinance said we couldn't anymore. I left needing crutches. No really, I'm not kidding. Really.
I have to say as well that a number of people came whom we had not seen in many years. Old pals from our days at the San Jose Civic Light Opera. It was so incredibly wonderful to have a little mini-reunion going on as well! His oldest and best friend and family made the trip down as well to serve up the "roast" toast. Great evening all around.
It goes without saying however, that something had to happen to nearly give me a heart attack - or else it wouldn't have been my life. About 4 hours before the party, Bob nearly ruined the whole thing. His friend Julian (who "hired" him for "the wedding") had told Bob he would come to our house at 5:45 to quickly review the music before riding together to the event (only 5 minutes from our house). At about 2:00, trying to be nonchalant, I asked Bob: "What time is your thing tonight?", to which he replied: "I'm going to leave at about 5:00". Leave?? At 5:00????? Panic shot through me. "I thought you said Julian was coming here." "No", Bob responded. "I'm going to his place. This wedding is in Oxnard". My mind is racing. What is wrong with him?? How could he screw this simple but pivotal detail up??? "Bob", I said with some urgency, "you better check. I'm sure you told me that Julian was meeting you here." Bob responds again, "Well, I may have said that but I don't know what I was thinking because I am positive this wedding is in Oxnard over near where Julian lives. I'm supposed to meet him at his house." I turned away so he wouldn't see the blood drain from my face. I had gone to so much trouble to cover all my bases and make sure nothing would go wrong. Everything had been timed to the last detail. How could he do this to me?!?! Just. This. Once. Couldn't he just not be soooooo - - Bob??
Needless to say, last minute clandestine phone calls and scurrying saved the day - but had I not asked that question, we would have had a party without him. And that would have been so typical. Fortunately, we dodged that bullet.
Happy birthday Bob. Glad you were there.