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Extended Birthday Celebrations, Part 2

The Saturday after my birthday, the boys were over at Kala's for the weekend.  Darwin said he wanted to go out for dinner with just me, and I would choose the restaurant.

Mwah ha ha!

I chose an Indian restaurant, because I never get Indian food.  Darwin doesn't like it much, you see, so I took advantage of my birthday to force him.  Ha!  Besides, we'd eaten at this restaurant before and Darwin had admitted that he did like the food.

Darwin made reservations for five o'clock.  I was a little puzzled--why make reservations for five on a Saturday?  No one else would be there, and we'd easily get a table for two.  Uncharacteristically, Darwin was hustling me out the door.  Usually when we're going somewhere on a timetable, I'm the one jingling the car keys and tapping my foot while Darwin dawdles.

A water main had broken that morning in Lake Orion, where Darwin is Village Manager, and he'd been fielding messages about it all day.  His phone kept going off while we were driving to the restaurant.  He was sure it was more about the water main break, but he wouldn't let me read the messages to him.  Eventually at a stoplight he got his phone out and checked the texts.  He sighed and railed about various annoying situations regarding the water main break, then continued onward.

Despite the GPS and my pointing things out, Darwin overshot the restaurant, which is on a high-traffic road.  This created a big delay--reversing course for the return wasn't easy.

At last, we arrived and went in.  The restaurant was nearly deserted.  The only occupied table, in fact, was a long one near the entrance.  It had half a dozen people around it, and all of them were studiously bent over menus.  I paused at the front counter, but no greeter was there.  Darwin kept on walking, though, and headed for the table.

It finally dawned on me that the people at the table were deliberately hiding their faces behind the menus, and the people were all my relatives!  It was my mother, her husband Gene, my brother Paul, Aran, Maksim, and Kala.  Good heavens!

Darwin had arranged a little surprise.  That was the reason for the reservation, of course, and the source of all the text messages--they hadn't been seated yet and were telling Darwin to stall.  So he overshot.  The water main break was real, though it provided a handy excuse for all the texts.

It was wonderful!  We had endless fun time dissecting the menu, including searching for something the non-Indian eaters could enjoy.  (Chicken fried rice and naan bread always work in these cases.)  We also poked gentle fun at one of the waiters, who needed a little more practice.  The food was delicious, however, and Aran even had curried fish, a brand new dish for him.

And there were even presents!  Paul gave me a candle done in the saint style with Edgar Allen Poe on it, which I liked very much.  (I immediately lit it at the table.)  Kala gave me a pinata shaped like Sponge Bob and a stick to beat it with.  (Yes!  My dislike of Sponge Bob is legendary.)  Darwin gave me two tickets to a burlesque show featuring a pair of magicians who perform naked.  (Was this present more for me or for him . . . ?)  My mother gave me two things.  First was a folder of geneology my grandmother had collected over the years.  (I had to hold it away from Darwin so he wouldn't drool on it!)  Second was my old school memory book.  There's a page in it for every year and a pocket for whatever photos or mementos you want to keep.  I'd forgotten Mom had it, and hadn't seen it in decades.  It was a joy to look at it again.

We all ate and talked noisily, as my family is wont to do, and finished off with some wonderful mango ice cream to cool off overspiced mouths.

It was a wonderful surprise evening.


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