George Worthy
George Worthy

How was your week? Mine was pretty great. Shoot, it should have been. After all, I was turning 80, and if you can’t have a good time on your 80th birthday, when are you going to have fun?

Like most good things that happen to me, it all started with my beautiful bride telling me there won’t be a party this year. Admittedly, I was a little disappointed. I had a great birthday last year. It was an evening that was instigated by Lorraine and I was thrilled to have my kids and grandkids and even a great-grandson swing by to tell me happy birthday. Like I said, I was a little disappointed that I wasn’t going to have a party, but I’m still smiling every time I think back to last year.

“Well, if you aren’t going to give me a birthday party, what do you have planned?” I asked my beautiful bride. OK, I admit it! I am spoiled by my family. It could be because I can still cry when needed and they probably thought I was going to turn on the waterworks if I didn’t get some recognition of my many years. 

“I have made reservations at Tarpy’s restaurant and I’ll invite the kids if you want to go there.” Ah, phooey, I mumbled under my breath. I have spent two or three birthdays there, and as much as I love the food, I always eat too much and feel like I’m going to bust.

“Oh, don’t worry about my birthday, honey. Whatever you do, I’m sure I will love it,” and that is where conversation about my birthday ended. I will admit, I didn’t think she would do something that would surprise me.

I even resorted to mentioning to all my kids wondering if they may have planned something for their decrepit old man. That didn’t work out to my satisfaction either. Before I could ask, they started telling me about this trip they were going to take to Las Vegas with some of their friends. Curses, foiled again! They didn’t return my phone calls where I was going to ask if I could accompany them. “Dad-burned kids!” I thought to myself. They forget what I have done for them. I could have bought another Corvette if I not had to buy school clothes and shoes. Kids nowadays have no respect.

So, on my birthday Lorraine said we had to leave early to get to our reservations. I kept telling her I wasn’t talking about her when she heard me mumbling under my breath about “no respect.” I went out to the car as she said she wanted to drive. I should have been suspicious of this because I almost always drive when we go out together. “You don’t know where we are going,” she said with a smile as we pulled out of the driveway. 

I was too busy turning this way and that trying to see if there were any cars following us. I mean the kids could have said they weren’t coming to help us celebrate just so they could surprise me. “Darn kids,” there were no other cars that I could identify, so I just sank back into my seat and turned the radio to a news station. I mean there could have been a wreck.

As we turned onto Highway 68, I was sure we were headed to Tarpy’s, but Lo just kept smiling and seemed pretty happy with her plans, whatever they were. As we passed by Tarpy’s, I started wondering if I was wrong about the destination. Then as we proceeded deeper into Monterey, she turned onto a street I wasn’t that familiar with and then into the driveway of the Monterey Plaza Hotel. “Do you know where we are going yet?” she asked with a smile.

Well, a blind man could see where we were, but I didn’t know about the bank she must have robbed to enable us to stay at such a fancy place. Then I was surprised again as she handed the keys to the attendant. I mean, we surely weren’t going to be there that long, were we? That is when she really surprised me again. “We have the room for the night,” she stated.

I started smiling because this was something I could understand. The Plaza is a pretty great hotel. I used to make a little money by hanging by the parking garage taking photos of visitors to Monterey. This time I didn’t even bring a camera, but again Lorraine told me to relax. “This is your birthday and I just want you to enjoy yourself.”

I could go on for many more pages telling you about what happened once we were in our room. The valet brought a couple of big bags full of cards that people we know had given me on this special day. Then we went to dinner right next door where my best friend and his wife were waiting. I’ll just finish this off by saying this birthday was probably one of the best birthdays I have ever had. If I ever have a better one, I know it will be because Lorraine fooled me again.

I should also give credit where credit is due. My kids were all aware of what was going on. In fact, they helped Lorraine in many of her surprises for me. Birthdays are a little complicated these days, but one thing remains my constant. I am so grateful that I married the woman I did. She is and has been the wind beneath my wings. Yes I am getting older, but as long as she feels happy, I am doing my job.

I won’t go on and on about my kids, but as I look around I feel so blessed that they are my contribution to the future, and I can’t wait until my next birthday because this one has been great!

God Bless.

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Gonzales columnist George Worthy may be reached at [email protected].


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