Now, if you're lucky enough to belong to the Big Canyon Country Club (I am not) maybe you get used to living in the lap of luxury. But for me, it was such an enormous treat to be able to have our parents' party there. My middle brother and his wife are members, and so we all got lucky with the location of the party. Dinner was beautiful, delicious, and wonderful. The staff is so attentive, and I've not had a better dinner anywhere else. Our table overlooked the golf course by the little lake, and it was a lovely view as we ate filet mignon, conversed, and listened to our mom and dad tell the story of how they met and became a couple.
Mom at dinner remembering the early days
Sister in laws Greta and Becky, with Greta's daughter Ariana in the middle
Because we had gotten there a little bit late, and the conversation ran a little long, our guests started arriving just as we were finishing dinner. My nephew Tom and his girlfriend Hadley were taking pictures of everyone as they arrived, so we would have a good memory of everything from start to finish.
Nephew Tom and girlfriend Hadley, camera at the ready
I won't bore everyone with the names and faces of everyone (and truthfully, I didn't know everyone there) but here are some of the main characters:
Becky and brother Brent
Brother Matt, Greta, and Ariana
Brother Chris and a guest (we never got a picture of Chris and wife Jill together!)
Sister in law Jill and a guest - I think his name is Brownie!
The program commenced: a magician! I've seen this particular one before. He works at The Magic Castle in Hollywood, and he's very good. He did everything from fire swallowing
The magician swallowing fire!
The magician floating a table with Mom's assistance
Mom and Dad enjoying their party
to rope and ring tricks, to a floating table. He did amazing tricks that seemingly needed psychic ability, and we were all wide-eyed, and open mouthed with amazement. My dad, especially, loves things like that, and tries to figure out how they're done. This magician is too good, though. No one had the slightest idea how he did anything.
After that bit of excitement, one of Jill's friends came onstage and sang about 3 songs. She has a lovely voice, and my mother really enjoyed that part of the program. She started off with "On The Road To Mandalay" - a rather random selection, except for the fact that my dad sang that to us on an almost daily basis. Because he's tone deaf, we were all curious as to what the real song sounded like. Actually, I prefer my dad's tone deaf version, I think. It's more fun, and has good memories attached. But the rest of the selections were beautiful love songs, and we all sang along on the last one.
My brother Chris (master of ceremonies that evening) was just about to wind it up when our youngest niece, Ariana, felt moved to sing a song for her Grandma and Grandpa. She said she "felt it in her heart." So she proceeded to sing a long and wandering tune of her own composition. It seemed like there was no end to it, but she was so adorable... so finally Jill began to clap, which made us all clap, and the gift of song from the heart ended.
Ariana's aria. Chris standing by... waiting...
More pictures, and more visiting followed, as people made their way to the dessert table, which consisted of (YES!!) triple chocolate cake, and an ice cream sundae bar.
My dad and his oldest friend, Tom, and wife
Ariana and Grandma/Mom share a moment at the party
LaMar and I had put together a framed poem, written by my friend Sue Anderson, that all of the guests signed at some point during the party. It turned out so lovely, and it will be a precious memory for them of a beautiful evening with family and friends.
Sue's poem, framed with guest signatures on the mat
And what about the gift we gave our parents? Well, we couldn't think of a thing that they didn't already have. They've been through the wringer this past year with my dad's cancer treatments, and a newly developed heart condition - life has been a little complicated and worrisome. So we decided to give them a gift that would take them back to those simple years where it all began, before life as we know it got so problematic and complicated. When the four of us were not even a twinkle in their eyes. We found a photograph of them in 1951, just after they'd started dating. It was taken at one of the BYU dinner dances they attended together, and the sweet innocence of this particular photo brings tears to my eyes. We had it enlarged to 12 x 16 and mounted on canvas, before choosing a beautiful frame for it. I love the nostalgic feel to it, and I hope it took them back to a wonderful time when love was fresh and new.
Mom and Dad in 1951 - our gift to them
The guests of honor basking in the glow of their celebration
It was a magical evening well spent. For a few hours, cancer was banished, health issues disappeared, and love for family and friends sparked the night air. So many people came out to give our parents their best wishes, and we're grateful to them for helping us to make the evening a huge success. A couple of nights later we all gathered together post-party to celebrate Ariana's 7th birthday, and Mom and Dad were still riding high from the fun and memories of their special celebration. 60 years is quite an accomplishment (61 years this coming June!) and they deserved the biggest party we could throw them. Happy Anniversary, Mom and Dad! Your lives together are an inspiration to all of us, and your party had the best chocolate cake I've ever had.