Chapter 1: THE 50TH ANNIVERSARY COMEDY OF ERRORS: The Story of An Unfit Planner and a Pickle Dish
Chapter 1: The Preparation
50th ANNIVERSARY COMEDY OF ERRORS
THE STORY ABOUT AN UNFIT PLANNER
AND A PICKLE DISH
"Stimp"....that's me...is put in charge of planning the parent's 50th anniversary. I agreed, if my siblings would "bank roll" it since I'm continually broke. Everyone is coming to this party....all the relatives and friends of years gone by. It's a two day event: first night is a "surprise dinner" with my parents and close relatives; second day is the open house for whoever wanted to come.
I started by dreaming up this hugely romantic, intimate dinner (well as intimate as you can get with 30 people), my mom and dad would walk in and it would be like a wonderland of white tulle, and lights, dozens and dozens of candles. So, many candles we wouldn't even have to turn the lights on. And there would be feathers...thousands and thousands of purple feathers all around the tables, floors and, of course, in the tulle. I dreamt of my mom and dad swinging open the French doors and they would be in heaven....it would be just heavenly. Alright, Stimp tends to get ideas but maybe doesn't think through how it's all gonna roll. I passed this dream along to my fiancé, Joe. He listened intently and crushed my dream with one statement..."You know what's gonna happen if you have a bunch of 75 year olds trying to eat stroganoff, with no lighting and only candles with feathers flying around....?" Well that statement alone sealed his fate in helping me come up with a new idea. Not to mention shopping for 6 hours through the thrift and dollar stores. You can imagine his GLEE fighting through the crowds as I carefully chose just the right "stuff". He was so full of glee, I think I saw his eyes roll a couple of times, and heard some sighs.
At the dollar store, I got everything I needed for the center pieces....few candles, some glass stones and small glass plates to put the assortment onto. I also bought some smaller t-light candle holders to place randomly throughout the room. We did get some purple feathers to use sparingly around the tables and centerpieces. We decided we would blow out the candles as soon as mom and dad rushed through the French doors and after the toast. Joe's sister offered up her extra wedding invite card stock because it was the same color I was using for the party. I bought the small bottles of bubbles as favors so we could blow bubbles during the toast...which of course would be simply magical. To dress up the bottles and invites I purchased little white satin ties with little gold champagne glasses "glued" to them. I got all of the invites printed and decorated with the ribbons and the bubble bottles assembled with tulle, tied with the same ribbon. My soon-to-be-stepdaughters were more than willing to help with this activity UNTIL we had to start gluing (HOT gluing) most of the champagne glasses back onto the ribbon. In case you are not aware, items purchased at a dollar store may have come from companies that don't neccessarily exercise quality control. But, despite it all, the girls and I got it done and the invites were sent out. All was coming together well. It was going to be splendid, just splendid.
So, I book the room which would be for the first "magical" night, the surprise dinner on Saturday night. My thought (again questionable), was to have the open house, on Sunday, at my parents home. I imagined having plates of "bars" and cookies, with punch and weak coffee (people in these parts drink coffee alllllll daaaay loooong and it has to be served with REAL cream or 1/2 and 1/2 "none of that non-dairy garbage" as my father puts it.. There are no Starbucks there). It would be very quaint, I thought. People meandering about, laughing and talking of the old days when they only had radios and had to walk uphill to school in the snow every single day all the while being chased by lions. Oh what a glorious get together this would be for them. I excitedly "told" my dad the plan. He called me back a few weeks later and ONCE AGAIN one of my ideas was crushed, "your mother is hysterical about having the open house here. She's been crying for two weeks. She believes the house will never be good enough to have people over." Oh, for the Love of Gawd, I thought, who really gives two hoots if there's dust on the toilet paper roll or the bar of soap isn't washed? But then I spoke to my brother....who is a "low and quiet talker" (perhaps he's a might slow....hard to say) , as if to sooth me, he says, "Stimp (not my real name of course), you need to understand, these people (these people? They’re our parents!) are in their 70s, they can't get the house together the way she'd (She...our mother) would want it". Bro was right. Change of plan. I quickly got on the horn to Laura (the woman who owns the bowling alley/restaurant/bar/dining hall. There may have been a tanning booth too, I didn't check), asked if we could keep the room the next afternoon for the Sunday open house. She agrees and puts it on her calendar.
So, in case you're not following....we are now having the surprise magical dinner (Saturday night) AND the open house (Sunday afternoon) at the bowling alley/restaurant/bar/dining hall. While I was on the phone with Laura talking about the room reservation, I was able to get a detailed description of the room which has not been renovated for several years. She assured me it would be fine when I described my dream of the magical night and wood paneling wasn't really envisioned in that dream. I was able to order a nice spray of flowers as a centerpiece for the head table at that time as well.....BECAUSE LAURA OWNS THE TOWN'S FLOWER SHOP TOO!! (Seriously, I can't make this stuff up....She might even own the local "Chicken Hut", I just don't know)
I called two local news papers to place ads for the open house. The invites sent previously only went to those who were invited to the magical dinner night. I type-set and emailed EXACTLY what I wanted the ad to look like. Didn't care about cost, cuz, hey, siblings are bank rolling it right? I'd saved a ton by going to the dollar store, so I felt justified. I ordered two cakes (think foreshadowing here). One for the magical night and one for the open house. The magical night cake was to be red velvet with cream colored icing and lilac/purple flowers. That's going to be gorgeous I thought....again, Stimp IS thinking. The cake for the open house was to be a sheet cake with cream frosting (lactose free, of course), purple and gold flowers and then some standard issue writing appropriate for a 50th Anniversary open house...you know...nothing nasty or suggestive, no foul language....just plain ole family friendly writing.
I do believe all the planning is complete. Soon, the big night will arrive.
Stay tuned for CHAPTER TWO: The Magical Night©