Monday, September 10, 2012

Suprise Party!

Waking up this morning, I smile. Twenty-four brand new hours are before me. I vow to
live fully in each moment and to look at all beings with eyes of compassion.” “

Nhat Hanh

My mother does not like surprises. One year when my siblings and I were young; mmm say
between the ages of 8 and 12, we thought we should throw our mother a surprise
party. At this time I had not come anywhere close to obtaining my ninja like sneaky
skills or great knack for lying and therefore; my sister and brother and I were
quite obvious about being up to something about particular incidents that might
occur on the day of July 21st, the day of my mothers birthday. The
three of us had decided we would invite our dear friends, the Schleup family to
our house; there was five of them; three parents and two children. Our family
was to head into town in the early afternoon hours to pass the time at the
nearest bowling alley to have fun playing low scoring bowling games, and when
we were almost done with the 3rd game, (as we always played 3
games), we would call the Shleups and let them know to head out to our place
and wait for our arrival. Never mind that we lived in the country, and that
there would be no where for them to hide the car, as immediately upon driving
up the driveway, there their car would sit. Never mind that we did not think to
somehow leave a door unlocked so they would not have to sit in a hot car, or
stand outside in the dry summer heat. Never mind that cell phones were
something of a foreign and future concept, so once that phone call was made
from the bowling alley giving the heads up to head out, contact would be no
more as they waited at the house for our dusty rumbling Chevy Suburban arrival.
(You could see a vehicle a mile away approaching down the gravel road, as we
lived upon a hill with no distractions but flat wheat fields to keep your eye
from following the tire rock kicking approach of any vehicle)  And so to continue…

As the third game was coming up on its final frames, my brother decided to head over and
make the call. When he was half way across the bowling alley, he yelled out to
my sister and me, “Hey what’s the Schleup’s number?’ Well, I shot him a look
like, ‘Who are the Schleups and what do you want with their number?” Then I
said something that would obviously explain the situation to my mother without
giving away the truth about the needed phone call. “Tyler,” I said “Yes, I think I do baby-sit
for them tomorrow; why don’t you call and make sure for me?” Well, oddly that
didn’t do the trick and my mother had confirmation then that a surprise party
was indeed part of the afternoon game plan for her birthday celebration. This
is where we came to find out how much my mother dislikes surprises.

She suddenly thought it would be a great idea to play a 4th game of bowling. She
did this with great excitement, and I believe she might have even got a Turkey during
the 4th game. Us kids threw a lot of gutter balls, and I think a few
times we reset the pins for the 2nd ball just to get done faster.
With great relief we packed up our bowling balls and returned our shoes and
headed out into the bright Montana sun, and piled into the truck and fully
anticipated our mother would drive us straight home to our awaiting guests.
Well with very little warning, my mother announced that she needed to pick up
some potatoes for next week’s dinner, as she took a left turn out of the
parking lot, instead of the right that would have taken us in the direction of
home. The three of us were asked to stay in the car, a usual occurrence for us;
to sit in the car, and so we sat, and my mom took her time and shopped for a
few more items other then potatoes. Well, once again she started up the truck,
and we continued on the way of “Mom is driving, and therefore mom goes where
mom wants to go,” journey. We stopped to top off the nearly full tank of gas
too. Nearly an hour later as we dipped down into the approaching valley before
our house, we could see little people standing outside the house, with their
car gleaming in the hot sun. Needless to say my mother didn’t stop with the continued
pleasant courtesy for their time and she said a curt hello and let them in the
house. She treated them just like us, like naughty children that needed
punishing and the whole thing was quite awkward. Needless to say the experience
scarred me so much that I have and never will throw a surprise party for
anyone, even for someone who might express great joy in a surprise party.

And let us end.

“When you plant lettuce, if it does not grow well, you

don't blame the lettuce. You look for reasons it is not

doing well. It may need fertilizer, or more water, or

less sun. You never blame the lettuce. Yet if we have

problems with our friends or family, we blame the other

person. But if we know how to take care of them, they will

grow well, like the lettuce. Blaming has no positive

effect at all, nor does trying to persuade using reason

and argument. That is my experience. No blame, no

reasoning, no argument, just understanding. If you

understand, and you show that you understand, you can

love, and the situation will change”

Nhat Hanh

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