After months of preparation, Ayhan and I flew to my hometown of Lynchburg, Va., Friday to toss a surprise soiree for my parents Evelyn & Dan's 60th wedding anniversary.
My brother Chris and and I intended to host a party for their 50th anniversary, but the parents side-swiped us by taking a cruise to Alaska. As I told our guests Saturday, we are surely blessed to have this opportunity a decade later.
My bro convinced E&D that he and his wife Judy were taking them out for a make-up Mother's Day luncheon, and picked them up at 2 p.m. Saturday... but with a sudden, unexpected stop at the main building of their senior living community, out of nowhere, I turned the corner: "What the hell?" (Photos: Donna Kendrick)The parents were then quickly escorted into a room where 75 of their friends and relatives awaited. Surprise!Among the prized guests were Betty Norman, a life-long friend of my mamer, and the only attendant at their wedding on June 17, 1950......And my father's sister Ann, the only surviving relative among their generation...Let the games begin!My dear friend Mary and her husband Mike with Poppy.Ev's longtime friend Ella Mae, who taught me math in the seventh grade.With loving Viv and Dan Payne.My cousin Ed—Ann's mamer—and his lovely wife Alice.Ayhan and I wrote a song for the anniversary party, "All the Way," with my lyric, Ayhan's music and a sweet, beautiful vocal from our dear friend Tinatin. We passed out a lyric sheet and played the song for all—and later, showed the video version that meshed photos of my parents through their courtship, wedding and aging gracefully. I swear, there's a universality about the video that everyone can relate to, whether or not you know E&D.My heritage: With high school (and lifetime) friends Donna and Mary.Favorite two pics: As I pose with Donna, Poppy is behind with rabbit ears...Cards and well wishes for another 60 years.Party prep: I rehearse my welcome speech, as Chris and I try to sync the video on the drop-down screen.Ayhan and Donna hang decorations.Mercy me. After all the excitement, we returned to the parent's home for a champagne toast. What a wondrous day. How blessed I am to have had the opportunity to celebrate such an occasion.