On approaching his 50th you would think that a smart guy would be suspicious that his wife would throw another surprise party. But no, still clueless! – I’m going to make a movie and call it “Clueless in Columbia.”
So here are the clues that a smart guy should have picked up on:
Gloria was cooking a large rice-broccoli pot on Sunday morning and asked me to stir the pot. We seldom cook that large a quantity of food unless we are having dinner at church. Generally we put something in the crock-pot if we are cooking on Sunday. But she told me that she was preparing it for Sarah and me to eat while she was in the hospital (she had major surgery Monday, came home on Thursday, and is slowly recuperating).
She asked me to make sure Sarah was awake. Now Sarah is a big girl and usually gets up on her own.
Charity and Lee showed up at church. They were in town for the weekend and planned to go with his folks to church (or so I was told). Charity told me that they changed their mind.
My very dear friend, Bill Oswald, along with his wife Becky, showed up at church. But since he is the previous pastor I wasn’t terribly surprised to see them.
An elderly gentleman wished me Happy Birthday. I told him my birthday was 2 weeks away.
We always sing Happy Birthday/Anniversary on the first Sunday of each month to cover the entire month. Since it was Lee’s actual birthday, and since he was a visitor, we sang for him, and then the church insisted on singing for me. I argued that we would sing for me in a few weeks, when we did the February events. But they insisted anyway. Somewhere along the way I made a joke about having driven the Buick to church because it could hold more presents than the Saturn. But I still was clueless!
When I finish the announcements I always ask if there are any announcements that I have forgotten, and when I did, my brother walked in the back door. I would love to have seen the look on my face because I was so shocked. You see he lives in Miami, you know the city in FL where Tony Dungy will win his first Super Bowl, 600 miles from here. I pointed at him as he walked down the aisle and said something to the effect that he was my baby brother and he lived in FL. He came and stood beside me and spoke for a few minutes about being my little brother for 46 years.
Then the Music Minister announced that we were all eating together after church, and the light, dim though it was, began to glow. Sarah pinned a boutonnière on my lapel, and the service continued. One of the congregational songs was “Til the Storm Passes By,” and Bill and I along with Al, a deacon, went to the platform and sang a trio on 1 of the verses. Bill and I sang “Sweet Beulah Land.” Sarah and Charity sang “Until Then” a song Charity said she first heard me sing at Hillview (the Montego Bay church I grew up in), in 1990.
After I preached we went to the Quigley Building (our fellowship hall) for lunch. I think that is when I first realized that we were having a party. I told you I was clueless! It was a great party, as good as my 25th, and the church folks were very gracious with their cards and gifts – we really did need the Buick!