Trying to keep the surprise in surprise party


A few weeks ago, the daughter called and said, “While you and Mom are here for Thanksgiving, we’re going to be throwing a surprise fiftieth anniversary party.”

“Oh Honey, that’s so sweet,” I said, “but your Mom and I won’t be married for fifty years until August of 2024. And I hate to break it to you, but you kind of ruined the surprise.”

“It’s not for you Dad, the party is for my in-laws. Their anniversary falls on the holiday weekend, so we will be having the party on the Friday after Thanksgiving.”

“Are you sure you’re not having a party for me and Mom and are just saying it’s for your in-laws because you blew the surprise by accidently telling me about it?”

“No, Dad, the party is not for you and Mom.”

“But I like surprises…”

“Dad, focus. I need you to do something for me,” the daughter said. “I need you to keep your mouth shut about the surprise party over Thanksgiving.”

“Then why in the world did you tell me about it? You know I can’t be trusted! I once accidently popped a balloon at a gender reveal party before the expectant parents were even in the room. Boy, was that embarrassing. I had pink powder all over me the rest of the party.”

“Well, you’re going to have to try very hard not to spoil this surprise.”

Talk about pressure! The in-laws arrived on Thanksgiving eve, so I had a full forty-eight hours that I had to keep the secret. My plan was to not say a word to them the entire time.

“What’s the matter with you?” the wife whispered at the Thanksgiving table? “You haven’t said a word to the in-laws.”

“I can’t. I’ll spoil the surprise party,” I said. “If they ask me to pass the cranberry sauce I’d probably say, ‘Would you like a surprise party with that?’ Then I would have ruined everything. So, I can’t talk.”

“Fine, then I’ll just tell them you have terminal laryngitis,” the wife said.

The rest of the weekend was spent in guarded whispers, mystery trips to the store, hushed phone calls, and diversion tactics to keep the in-laws from suspecting.

On the evening of the party, the in-laws were whisked away by their sons to a new brewery, while the guests, composed of very dear friends, family, and neighbors, arrived from far and wide.

At 6 p.m. the in-laws were to return. I was the lookout watching for their car to pull into the driveway.

“THEY’RE HERE!!! THEY’RE HERE!!!” I said jumping up and down.

“Dad! Get away from the window!” the daughter yelled. “Everyone, hide!”

When the door opened, we all yelled, “SURPRISE! HAPPY ANNIVERSARY!!!”

The in-laws were genuinely surprised! They had absolutely no clue that the surprise party was for them.

The evening was full of great stories, tearful reunions, a touching video, a sweet song dedication, and a fun “How well do you know your spouse?” game. Based on the results, I’m not sure they ever met…

“Dad,” the daughter said, “I’m proud of you. You didn’t spoil the surprise.”

“Are you sure that party wasn’t really for Mom and I, and you just changed the names on the cake to throw us off?”

“No, Dad. But August 2024 is coming and I’m already planning something.”

“Please,” I said, “just tell me there won’t be any pink powdered balloons…’

Raul Ascunce is a freelance columnist for the Sentinel-Tribune. He may be contacted at [email protected].

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