Friday, December 10, 2010

Surprise-Eleven Months in the Making

cahoots (kəˈhuːts) — pl n
1. ( US ) partnership; league (esp in the phrases go in cahoots with, go cahoot )
2. in cahoots in collusion

Don't you love it when a plan comes together? When what you envisioned is exactly how it turns out. It doesn't happen often, but about a month ago, on the fifth of November, 2010, it did!
For years, my son had been after my father's white, 1987, Caballero pickup. He wanted it to use as a tailgating vehicle at Kansas State University ballgames. My dad started teasing Tyler, by saying, "You can have it when I die", to which my son quickly responded, "I don't want it anymore." Then a year ago at Christmas time, my son proposed to his girlfriend and the scheming began.
Being the sneaky granddad that he is, my father bought a new pickup about eleven months ago. He then proceeded to hide the new pickup every time Tyler was around. Dad's next step was to purchase two K-State Power Cat magnetic stickers and have the Caballero detailed with a purple pinstripe all the way around. Finally, because the apple never falls very far from the tree, my dad and I hatched a plan of how to surprise Tyler with the car.
On the day of my son's wedding, we attached a huge bow to the top of the vehicle and hid it near the church. The reception was to be held a few blocks away, so the plan was for everyone to leave the church immediately following the ceremony and head directly to the reception. Tyler and Bri greeted everyone as they left the sanctuary and my job was to usher people out and send them on their way. However, my secret mission, was to have enough people stay outside the door to cover up the arrival of the gift from my father. As the line began to dwindle, Tyler and Bri questioned me as to why the people outside the door weren't leaving. I played dumb and just told them that for some reason they wouldn't leave until the two of them came out. So, the unsuspecting couple followed me out, the wall of bodies moved as if on cue, and there stood my dad, opening the door of their new tailgating pickup.
Now do you know how hard it is to keep a secret of eleven months from leaking out? Somehow, just this once, we did it. The look of shocked surprise on my son's face, followed by his tears of pleasure (and relief that my dad was presenting the vehicle as a gift while he was still alive), were enough to tell us we had succeeded.
2 Power Cat Magnets: $11.90, Purple pinstripe detailing: $387.50, the look on my son's and dad's faces: PRICELESS!

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Endings and Beginnings

cul·mi·nate (kŭl'mə-nāt') v.
1. To reach the highest point or degree; climax:
2. To come to completion; end:

This year was a year of completion. Three of our five children have completed a part of their academic careers (I realize, technically, we only have four children but I am claiming our daughter-in-law as one of my own).
Cameron, our daughter, started us off. She graduated with honors with a degree in communication and a minor in business from Southwestern College in May. She had a summer job lined up with Music Theater of Wichita and spent a happy summer there. The day after that job ended we left home to take her to the job she had lined up for herself in Chicago. As proud and excited as we are for her, I always have that motherly pang of worry and wish she was closer.
Our daughter-in-law, Bri, completed a second degree in secondary English education in May. Our proudest moment came when, two days before her graduation, she received an offer of a teaching job, which in this time of budget cuts and reductions-in-force, is a rarity. She is learning a lot in her first year of teaching at Junction City Middle School.
That same weekend, the youngest, Spencer, graduated from high school.
The thing about being a parent and seeing one portion of a child's life end could make you sad if you chose to dwell upon it, but the cool thing is, each new phase of life has exciting things to offer as well.
I can't wait to see what happens next!

Move Over Nancy Drew

sleuth [slooth]
1.a detective.
2.a bloodhound.
–verb (used with object), verb (used without object) track or trail, as a detective.

I always did like Nancy Drew books as a kid and I continue to like mystery stories as an adult. My love of reading has been a part of me for as long as I can remember but I didn't get it from my dad! In fact, I don't ever recall him spending time reading, he was always too busy working.
However, since he retired (which is really a misnomer because he still works harder than most men half his age), he has developed a love for a specific type of book. He devours detective stories that revolve around Indian Reservations. He has become a collector of whole series' of work. He had every book written by Tony Hillerman and Margaret Coel and had read them several times. One day, when dad and I were shopping at his favorite secondhand bookstore, the owner, knowing dad's taste turned us onto a new series of that genre by Aimee and David Thurlow.
Since that day, one of my great pleasures in life has been playing "Nancy Drew" and keeping my dad stocked with books from new authors. Thankfully the internet has made the search easier and ordering a breeze.
Keep it under your hat, but last night I found a new bookstore, Better World Books, where I purchased 8 books for my dad's Christmas present for around $26 with no shipping fee. Five of the books are a new series by an author he has read before and three are from a totally new author. The other cool thing about this purchase is that this bookstore helps fund global literacy and is involved in environmental causes, two of my passions.
It has been fun getting to play detective and search out books for my dad. I can't wait to see his face on Christmas morning!