Monday, May 18, 2015

What a joy....

Bern and I took the Puli to Holiday Pet Lodge in Wallingford on Saturday morning (if you need a kennel go there--like really!) and then headed, with lots of time, to Baltimore. We had 7 hours to do what we usually do in under five.

We were on our way to Cathy Chen's surprise birthday party. Cathy is our daughter-in-law and mother of the three best grand-daughters in creation.

Josh, our son, had been planning this night for months. One of Cathy's brothers from California and his daughter had flown east for it. People came from Chicago, DC, NYC and other places. He gathered Cathy's friends from high school, college, law school and current life--26 of them. A remarkable group: a judge she appears before, lawyers of course, Tegan's M.D. godfather, educators, parents of kids their kids go to school with, next door neighbors,friends, loved ones, her parents and us. Remarkable! He worked so hard and took grief from Cathy because her birthday would just be dinner with her parents.

Josh went with Cathy, disappointed at the lack of pomp and circumstance for her 40th, and our grandchildren to Cathy's parents' house to pick them up. There she met her brother and doubtless thought that was her surprise.

Meanwhile, we stopped in Delaware at the Delaware Welcome Center (stop there if you ever drive south on I-95) and read for an hour, Bern and I (both great readers) so we wouldn't arrive at the restaurant too early.

Then, however, we hit a monsoon 35 miles outside of Baltimore that slowed traffic to 20 mph, if that. The GPS on Bern's smart phone guided us unerringly to 1500 Union Avenue. Fortunately, the storm had ended. Unfortunately, 1500 Union Avenue was a huge former factory that has been recreated into offices of non-profits, apartments and a restaurant that was about half a mile from the where we were to the entrance to the restaurant! We found lots of locked doors and Cathy's friend, Kim, also confused. I thought it wad a great practical joke Josh had played on us on. But finally, after 20 minutes or so, I found the restaurant exactly 180 degrees from where the GPS landed us.

The night was wondrous. Cathy was totally surprised, totally and absolutely. The people were fascinating and engaging, the food was perfect (served family style) and it was a joy. Josh had pulled off a remarkable event and Cathy had not a frigging clue!

Our granddaughters (who Josh hadn't told about the party--good call that!) also had no clue that we were in town. One of Cathy's friends from DC, Judy, had her car not start after the party and had to come home with Josh, Cathy and the girls, at about midnight, to spend the night.

The girls were astonished to find us there. Except for Tegan, who was too sleepy to realize what was up.

But they were no more astonished to find us there than Laura, Josh and Cathy's sweet-sweet-beyond sweet rescue Pit Bull where we showed up about 10:30 p.m. having been given a garage opener by Josh so we could leave and go to their town house. She was sweet, sweet, beyond sweet but obviously wondering where 'her people' were and 'who we were' and why we were there instead?

(More later on a wondrous weekend). I'm sleepy from two nights not in my own bed and dealing with a birthday party and the 3 most amazing granddaughters in the universe....

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some ponderings by an aging white man who is an Episcopal priest in Connecticut. Now retired but still working and still wondering what it all means...all of it.