Big Surprise at the End! (…wait for it…)

So yesterday was my birthday. Others always make a bigger deal out of my birthday than I do. Just give me some hot wings and a good movie (one with lots of metaphors and symbolism and a decent karate scene) and that day quickly makes its way up the list to one of the all-time best birthdays. This year my wife was out of town. My son is still living and working in Los Angeles. So my daughter Chera and son-in-law Craig drove in from Knoxville to celebrate. The plan was to go to the annual Renaissance Festival. This was the year I was to tote my turkey leg from the jousting exhibition to the jester’s ribald performance—without a napkin. I was going to back that up with grilled corn on the cob and a deep-fried Twinkie. But the storms changed all of that. Heavy rains cancelled that big chunk of Medieval history. I’m sure I heard the turkeys sigh with relief.

Plan B was the new bowling alley in town. From ax tossing to waxed lanes. But with the storms coming in, bowling seemed to be everyone’s Plan B. Our Plan C (which we made up on the spot) was to play arcade games—and win tickets that you could cash in later for prizes. Plan C it was!

So for the next two hours I rolled ski balls, lobbed extra-bouncy basketballs at too-tiny hoops, threw wobbly footballs into too-tiny holes in the wall, tried to burst a balloon by punching a button that would stop a spinning needle on an intsy-bitsy spot, destroyed loads of military arms by tossing soft plastic balls at a flat screen (that was way fun! Toss a rubbery ball at a tank and KABLEWY!!), shouted insults at Howie and the banker when they asked me “Deal or No Deal?” (I came to play, not deal!), played one game three times before I realized it was broken (thought it was me and I couldn’t stand that), and pulled a giant lever that made a wheel spin around (no skill whatsoever, but I did win 40 tickets on that alone!).

In the end we won over 500 tickets. Enough to trade for a tiny stuffed chicken for the dogs, a train whistle for me (which I used on the way out the door—should have seen the patrons scatter!), and a plastic dinosaur for Sawyer.

Oh yeah, Sawyer is my new grandson. He won’t be here for another 5 months. But now we know that that’s his name—and not Kate. You see, Chera had pictures made this weekend and there’s no doubt: he’s all boy. I found out the day before when I was teaching a class. No one is supposed to have a cell phone in class, but this day I took my call. She gave me the news. Then, as I held the phone up high, I had the whole class congratulate her—just before I gave them their final exam. (I may be sentimental, but I’m also disciplined.)

I’ve put my train whistle away. Now I see it as a priceless keepsake. One day I’ll pull it out so I can teach Sawyer how to blow it just right, so that it sounds like a real train—and then we’ll watch the people scatter!

Best birthday ever.


~ by dwpierce1 on May 2, 2010.

9 Responses to “Big Surprise at the End! (…wait for it…)”

  1. Oh David what a special day!!! I am so excited for you and Chonda. You can’t express in words what a grandchild does to your life, you have to experience it for yourself. I love the name Sayer!!!

  2. Sounds like a birthday that could never be repeated… Wow, a grandson!! Glad that the “4” of you had a great day together and the weather didn’t “rain on your parade”! Happy Birthday David!

  3. I’m glad you had fun, Dad! Next year we’re skipping straight to Plan C!!

  4. David,
    So glad that you enjoyed your birthday although some family were out of town and the rain was pouring. But, you have great memories because of it. And I am so excited about the arrival of Sawyer.

  5. Oh that is just amazingly wonderful. So happy for you!!!


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