Celebrating Dad’s 80th

On May 9, my dad turned 80 years old. Dad’s not into big parties, in fact his words to my brother were “I don’t want any big shindig. It’s bad enough getting old, much less advertising it.” So, my brothers, I, and our spouses went to California to celebrate with a small family gathering. Only thing is, we kept it a surprise. Mom did all of the planning – she loves that kind of stuff – and my youngest brother, who lives the closest, called dad and told him he was coming over on Thursday so they could play golf together on his birthday. This assured us that he’d be there when we all arrived. Needless to say when he opened his front door on Thursday night he was quite surprised to see, what he referred to as, four displaced people. And, I think he was relieved when we told him this was as big as the group would get. He did get to play golf with my brothers on Friday – which is his most favorite thing to do in the world. And, I think he was relieved when we entered the restaurant on Friday night and realized that indeed, the group would not get any bigger.

Our trip did start with a few glitches. Everything was fine until we landed in San Jose. Our first glitch started with the luggage. I think it may have arrived on a later plane as it took forever to show up at luggage claim. Then, in order to rent a car in San Jose, you have to drag your luggage across the street, onto a bus, ride to the car rental place, drag your luggage off the bus and check in. Other than being somewhat of a pain, that process went relatively smoothly, we got our car and left the airport, or tried to at least. Before even getting out of the airport roads we encountered an accident that sent us on a detour through long term parking. Everyone on this detour had to first take a ticket to get into long term parking and then wait in line at the check out spot to give up our ticket and go through the gate. That took quite an extra bit of time but finally we were off onto the freeway, only to get involved in a traffic jam, which we later found out was caused by an overturned truck. By the time we passed the truck we’d already been in California for 2 hours and we weren’t more than five miles from the airport! I am totally convinced that God sent us the Oscar Meyer Weinermobile (with a Wisconsin license plate) in the midst of our traffic jam for comic relief. It’s just not what you expect to see on the California freeways. I made John take a picture. I was driving and it makes John nervous when I try to do two things at once.

Other than the initial traffic incidences, our time in California went well and we had a good trip. The Monterey Bay area of California is one of the most beautiful areas of the country. Dad was surprised and it was fun to honor him on his birthday.

You can’t beat a view like this!