Of all the words I'd like to write today the ones I'd most like to be writing are:
One of my favorites was his 50th, which he insisted that he was going to help plan. Little did he know that behind the scenes a surprise would be in the works. After weeks of secret phone calls to his daughters and to his family in Minnesota, a plan was devised to have some special guests at his party. I was so excited, I really don't know how I kept the secret from him. No, it was not a celebrity, but, rather people who much more important to him. His Mother, Sister and Brother and their spouses would fly in from Minnesota for this monumental birthday the day before the party. But, how would I feed all of them without him wondering what I was up to. Darrell made great spaghetti, so his oldest daughter and I came up with a plan. She would ask him if he would teach her how to make his special sauce and of course he wouldn't turn her down. So that afternoon the two of them made a huge batch of spaghetti, some of which he thought we would freeze. Now the next hurdle was how to get him out of the house so we could sneak his family in. So a neighbor and I came up with a plan for her to call and ask him to come over because she thought she smelled gas. As soon as I heard that they were within a few blocks I called her with a prearranged signal. Off he went and in they came – I had them sit around our dining room table, which is not visible from the front door, and we waited for his return. The excitement of this surprise was building as we watched him come from down the street. But, as usual he stopped to shoot the breeze with another neighbor. When he finally came through the door I yelled for him to come help me in the dining room. I'll never forget the look on his face. I think he thought he was having a hallucination. He fell back against the counter in shock and we all thought he was going to pass out. I don't think if he had won the lottery it would have been any better of a surprise. For his party his youngest daughter rented him a snazzy tuxedo – gosh he was so handsome and so very happy. I don't remember much about the actual party, but, I will never forget how thrilled he was to celebrate this very special birthday with his Mom.
When we visited Minnesota last summer Darrell said that he wanted to see the house he was born in again and the farm where his grandparents had lived. Sometimes I wonder in all the years we went there on vacation why this was the first time he ever mentioned going there. I'm so glad that I was able to share that with him and the memories he shared with me as we drove through the country. He talked about his grandparents, who only spoke Finnish, and how he wished he could have been able to talk to them. He spoke of summers spent at their farm and how he and his siblings would wake up and start hollering: “Grandma, pancakes.” A special day and a sweet memory now.
It's funny how easily at times it is to forget that he is not here and how I still expect to find him “putzy'ng” in his shop. Yesterday, as I folded towels, it came to me that I still needed to get him something for his birthday, but as quickly as that flash came into my mind I realized that this year it would not be needed.
“You Were Loved”
Sung by Wynonna Judd
We all want our voices to be heard.
Is when you reach and find you've found someone.
Without love do you really have a thing.
You were loved by someone,
So remember to tell that one,