That’s what it’s been. A Big Deal. I spent the last 2 weeks thinking of not much else besides party. It probably wouldn’t have felt like such a big deal if I had been able to talk to my mom about everything. But I sort of avoided her. I didn’t want to let anything slip! Instead, I bothered her sister, who was hosting the party. She was a busy lady answering my million questions and getting her place ready! (Thanks, Amber!)
Three years ago we planned a surprise for my dad’s 50th. It made me nervous about planning one for my mom because I figured she’d most certainly suspect it. I guess I was wrong.
We decided to have the party on the same day as our usual “family day”. About every 6 weeks, my mom’s side of the family gets together for much food, shouting, and laughter. It’s great. The plan was that she and my dad would take some of her siblings to see the house my dad and brother were finishing up renovating. They were supposed to leave at 3:15 so guests could safely come around 4. 3:15 came and went and they were all still sitting in the kitchen.
My blood pressure was rising. Then mom said, “Why do I have to go see this house? I see it all the time!” I’m glad I was washing dishes. My face was getting redder and my eyes were popping out of my head. But by 3:30 they finally moseyed on out to the car. (Later I learned that when she was getting in the car, one of my uncles walked by and she said, “Greg, don’t you want to go? I really don’t have to!” Fortunately he declined.)
As soon as that engine started, we took off. I became very bossy. Finish washing these dishes!
Here, you hang these lights. Kate, find a knife and slice the hot dog buns!
For the next 45 minutes, I sweated more than I ever did my entire life. It was 93 degrees with humidity hovering around 84. I was wearing a white shirt. Dumb idea. Fortunately I had brought a change of clothes.
Guests began filtering in. I had hoped to be changed and relaxed by that point but I was still flying around. The food table needed arranged. The garland needed hung. Brad! You do that!
Joel picked some nasturtiums to decorate salads.
Kenton mixed up the iced coffee.
Greg threw together the meadow tea.
There were, of course, even more people scurrying about finishing endless little details. What were my duties? Why shouting orders, of course! Just kidding. I helped. Some. I arranged the food table, got out food for people to plate and garnish, and just generally made sure things were in order. So did Amber, the hostess of the party. Between the two of us, I’d say we did a fine job organizing the event. I couldn’t have done it without her. And thanks to the entire family, we pulled it off quite well. I mean, look at this face!
I do believe she was genuinely surprised. While the cousins who normally attend family day were outside playing, all of the surprise guests stood in the hot kitchen. (Sorry guests!) When Mom arrived, she sauntered past the decorated yard, oblivious to the extra chairs and heavily laden food table. Everyone waited silently for the guest of honor to appear. Only half an hour later than scheduled, mom popped in the door and dropped her mouth. What fun!
And the party began. There was much mingling,
The variety of food was astonishing. And there was WAY too much. Someone said there would have been enough food for 30 more people. My response? “Yeah, but had we invited 30 more, we would have brought even more food!” That’s just the way my family works. There’s always an abundance of food. We all love to cook and we all love to eat.
Would you like a rundown of the menu? I apologize if I forgot anyone’s special dish. Like I said, there was a lot, all contributed by different members of the family.
Roasted hot dogs with homemade and bought buns, fire-boiled corn on the cob, venison sticks, baked beans, cucumber salad, dilly green bean salad, carrot salad, seven layer salad, red beet eggs, chips with salsa dip, cheese and crackers, veggies, fruit, pretzels, lemon cream cheese bars, gluten-free peanut butter bars, chocolate cake with mint icing, white cake with chocolate icing, chocolate bundt cake, homemade vanilla ice cream with homemade fudge, fruit syrups, and peanuts, meadow tea, iced coffee, and ice water.
We needed all that ice. It was hot. That’s probably another reason there was so much leftover food. Too hot to eat! And too hot to socialize all that much. Things broke up around 8:00. Everyone wanted to go home to their air conditioning. At least, that’s what I was thinking. But there was still clean up!
I think the party was a success. Hot but fun. Happy early birthday, Mom!
P.S. Did I forget anything? Any details so important that I should edit my post? It’s all sort of a foggy memory for me!
P.P.S. Don’t you worry…I’ll feature some recipes this week! Tootle-ooo for now!