Monday, May 11, 2009

Paul's party

My husband does not appreciate silliness. Well, some of it in his daughters he tolerates indulgently, but not much beyond that. I found this out early in our marriage when we followed our noses to a FREE!! Portrait Session!! at a motel in Woodburn a few blocks from where we lived and a tall bulging woman named Lou [yes, the details are all burned into my memory] posed us and insisted that we say things like "Hi Turkey Lips!" or "We never fight!" so we would smile nice, and my dignified husband was NOT going to say any such things, and he sat there and refused to say anything, and Lou acted like she had never encountered such a stubborn person before, and I thought, Who is this person I married who doesn't do what people tell him to do?

Then when it was time to pick up our FREE!! 8x10 I went by myself back to this same motel and the sales guy spent a good half hour trying to talk me into buying the whole package, which was only $150, which came down to $125, and $100, and finally in a hushed voice he said he can lower it one more time, but don't tell anyone, and on a piece of paper, as though we were Soviet spies, he wrote $60 and showed it to me like I dare not refuse. I, who can never refuse people, actually refused, because I knew very well how my husband would react if I spent a tenth of his monthly salary on a photo package, and I went proudly home with my 8x10, which was on display Sunday night at Paul's party, and it made people gasp and say, "Oh my goodness you were so young!"

Rita Baker did the decorating for the party, combining a few of these old pictures with home-grown bouquets and Paulish things like school Paces, sermon books, and grass seed in glass containers. It was pretty without being overdone, as I had promised him.

So, back to silliness. I had also promised Paul we would not have any silliness at his party. The party itself was not optional--as much as he pours his life into people at church, school, and elsewhere, it was only right to have a party and have it at the church fellowship hall. But I promised that there would be no excess of hoopla and for sure no games where the men sit behind a sheet with one bare foot apiece sticking out, and the wives try to pick the right husband's foot. {I have seen this game go very very wrong so it was no great sacrifice to promise him this.}

So Arlen, the other pastor, introduced things and different people spoke about their viewpoint of Paul: his mother, his daughter (Jenny), his son (Matt), a former employee (TJ Bear), and a student (Spencer K.). Then Arlen asked if anyone else had anything to say, and a few people did, then I presented Paul with his gift, which was a notebook with 50 tributes to him for having a positive impact on people's lives. And then we sang happy birthday and ate.

I had planned the food around what Paul likes and what his mom would serve on a Sunday evening. So his mom made a gazillion buns and Bonnie arranged lettuce, tomato slices, cheese, and various meat slices on huge trays. Then we had a jello salad, seasoned pretzels, cupcakes made by Amy, and ice cream.

Jeannette K. and cousin Trish worked in the kitchen and organized the serving, and afterwards these two plus Bonnie, Anne (Paul's mom), and a few others went way beyond the call of duty in helping with cleanup. Last of all Paul and I vacuumed the fellowship hall, which strangely enough seemed like an appropriate end to a party, that it would end with the people it began with, and we were out of there by 10 pm.

Thanks to everyone reading this who participated in some form or other: from giving birth to him 50 years ago to sending in tributes for the notebook to washing dishes.

Paul actually wiped his eyes at one point in the program. It obviously wasn't from laughing, since it wasn't that sort of evening, so it must have been from other, deeper emotions, and I consider the evening a success.

Quote of the Day:
"If you've had Paul in Christian Ethics class, or any other class for that matter, the one thing you'll remember him saying is, What I think they're actually trying to say is. . ."
--Phebe the phormer student who soon caught on to the fact that one of Paul's callings in life is to explain everyone to everyone else, but I don't think he ever tried to explain what Lou actually meant to say when she tried to get us to say, "Hi Turkey Lips!"


  1. I wanted to be at the party. Alas, the insurmountable challenge of being elsewhere as well proved to be, well, insurmountable.

    Happy birthday, Paul!WV: andes -- maybe you'll get to take a vacation there.

  2. Is there some signifigance to the fact that Phebe is a phormer student, and not a former one? I must have missed it! Pauline

  3. Loved this post. I would agree that your party sounds like a great success!! But....the part that made me lol was the line about sticking out the bare feet and things going very very wrong....that just cracks me up.....I know there is a story there.

  4. Or maybe it is Febe the Former Student.

  5. Beth: exactly!
    [This is what comes of feeling clever and people don't get it so maybe it wasn't so clever. . .]

  6. See, I figured there was something there. I'm probably the one who isn't clever...even Beth caught that one! Pauline