Soooo, it's been a week since I've posted. Did everyone have a terrific 7 days? I certainly hope so. I did! My birthday week mystery trip was wonderful, fabulous, amazing, terrific and an incredible surprise! I will tell you about the entire trip, but first I'm just going to skip ahead to the very best part. Throughout the week I'll get to other awesome parts of the trip but today will just be about the pinnacle, the tippitytop, the best of the best.
I will set the scene. Last Thursday evening. Tim had told me before I packed to bring one nice outfit. Not a formal thing, no black-tie event, but a decent, out-to-dinner type outfit. So I was prepared, clothing-wise. Reservations were for 6 pm. Ok. I was ready. My new cute sea-green capri's, a pretty summery white blouse, white shawl (in case it gets chilly 'coz AC makes me cold!), my navy wedge heels. I had no idea what the name of the restaurant was but I was prepared for anything. Or so I thought.
About twenty of 6 we drove into town and began the futile search for a parking spot. At one point we thought we had one, but it turned out to be a loading zone (mis-marked as a regular parking spot) so that didn't work. We finally found a parking garage, there was one available parking spot that was not quite on the top floor and we began walking toward this mystery destination. I fretted a little bit because our reservation was at 6 and it was already after. "do we need to call and let them know that we are running an eensie bit late?" I asked as we walked. "Nah" Tim responded, "I think it'll be okay."
The restaurant turned out to be called, Tupelo Honey. Is that adorable or what? My first thought was that it must be a fabulous place because it was packed with a lot of people waiting . Just masses of people talking and laughing and, apparently, content to wait for their table which is always a great indicator of a restaurant worth waiting for.
We squirmed our way in through the crowd and up to the desk. It was rather noisy at the front and I was doing my usual head-on-a-swivel looking everywhere, taking it all in while Tim talked to the hostess. It smelled divine. I'm sure I gained a few pounds just breathing it all in.
It was a bustling busy place crammed with people, but despite that, all of the staff were smiling and the guests looked very happy to be there. More good signs. After a few minutes, a little blonde girl led us down a narrow path to a table toward the back. I didn't see any empty tables so I was confused. Where was she taking us? Was there another table around the corner? The little blonde girl turned around and walked back to the front. I assumed that there had been some sort of mistake so I turned to follow her back to entrance as well confident that we would sort this all out. Tim stopped me and pointed to that last table again. I looked at the table again. There were still people sitting there. Four people. Two men and two women.
Oh wait a minute. That guy looks just like Hurley. Honest, he could be youngest son's dopleganger. Blink blink. And that looks like his wife Jessie sitting next to him. And daughter-in-law Julie! And middle son, Corbin! Holy Crap! Double-take, Triple-Take.
There before me were 2/3 of the rest of our family! I just couldn't seem to process it. I stood there frozen in place. Tim pulled out my chair and with his gentle nudge, I sat down, stunned. I began to cry. I couldn't seem to stop crying!
'Why are you here?" I asked. "I don't understand". I think I said that a dozen times.
"Happy Birthday!!!" was the response.
"How long will you be here?" I finally changed questions.
"Until Sunday!" "We are staying with you guys" "That's why I rented an entire house" were the kinds of answers I got.
I couldn't seem to process what anyone was saying.
Luckily the waiter came for our food orders so I had time to collect myself while looking at the menu. I don't even remember what I ordered to be honest. Though I do remember that it was yummy.
Eventually, bit by bit, person by person, they filled me in.
So, as it turns out, way back in November, Corbin and Julie came up with the idea that for my 65th birthday he and Julie would come here, secretly, to surprise me. He contacted Tim who, knowing how hot and humid it can be in Florida in July suggested an alternate idea which was that we could meet somewhere else. Corbin and Julie contacted Hurley and Jessie who also thought it was a good idea. (Oldest son and his beloved were not able to join us). Between the five of them, they went back and forth with emails for months, throwing out ideas and suggestions and finally coming up with this plan. The amount of planning and organization and coordination involved was nothing short of preparations for a space shuttle launch. And I had NO Idea At All!
It was the BEST surprise of my life and resulted in the BEST birthday of my life.
The kids arrived earlier on Thursday, met up at the airport, rented their own car (together) and drove into town. They wandered around town a little bit, checking the place out and dodging sporadic rain showers for awhile and then picked up the birthday cake they ordered for me. Oh yeah, Hurley & Jessie did some research and ordered a birthday cake for me from a local restaurant and carted it ahead of time to the restaurant where the staff kindly accommodated that. (photo above) It was delish! I do remember eating the cake. Sooo Goooood.
So while Tim and I spent the first two and half days together, just the two of us, on the mystery birthday trip weekend, the remainder of the trip was the six of us. And it was awesome. Epic even.
Best. Birthday. Ever.
Yup, this is me. Some people said, "Sam, you should write a Blog". "Well, there's a thought", I thought to myself. And so here it is.