It's not often that one turns the grand age of 90. Such an event, especially for someone so spry as my dad, deserves some sort of event.
My parents value family very highly (as many families, do, of course), and we -- their children -- decided to arrange a surprise birthday party for him. We thought it appropriate for everyone to come together for this birthday; our family, being reasonably large in size and not all living in the same town, don't actually get all together at the same time very often. In fact, the last time we had done so was well over twenty years ago. So, it would be a big surprise, indeed. My brother George did most of the logistical work, arranging for hotel rooms, arrival times, party preparations, and a very special gift.
I was part of the biggest travelling contingent: myself, Jenn, George, Murielle, Rene, Dan, and Elvira. We had decided that we would drive to Bathurst, taking two cars and travelling in convoy.
The weather on our drive down was picture perfect for Mid-November, much better than we had hoped for. In fact, the forecast for our entire weekend visit was excellent, so we had no worries about sketchy early-winter weather. We had an uneventful drive, arriving in Bathurst somewhere around 6pm. In order to keep everything a secret from my Dad (who is well-known for poking his nose around town and figuring out what is going on), we all checked in to a motel in the next town over from Bathurst.
Adding style to Dolce and Gabbana
The first order of business after arriving was a much-needed meal. George has always been fond of a local establishment called Dannys (and its related business, The Big 'D'), and in particular of a signature fast food dish called a Dannyburger. Off we went to the restaurant to order seven Dannyburgers. Even after eating dinner, it was still early in the evening. We made ourselves scarce by going to see the movie 'Unstoppable' at the local cinema.
The next Saturday morning saw more of the family show up. My brother Carl, along with Line and nephew Mark, arrived early in the morning. A little later on Alphonse showed up, with my mother in tow. My mother had known about this birthday / reunion for months now, and knew all of the family was coming. She was therefore keen to visit with everyone as soon as possible, including a secret meeting before the big event. Alphonse had dreamed up an excuse to get my mother out of the house without arousing too much suspicion in my dad.