Just this past weekend, (as I am writing this story), I finished up driving our little red sports car from Sacramento to Phoenix. The car is a 2000 Mazda Miata with still under 30,000 miles on it. Believe it or not, it even still smells like a new car inside. I had burned one of my favorite James Lee Burke audiobooks onto cd and this really helped to keep me alert during the 14 hour drive. For extra company, I had purchased some D cell batteries for my Sirius Sportster ‘boombox’. While I was down in Phoenix, I did get an opportunity to take in a round of golf. I hooked up with a very nice Canadian couple for the round. As I was trying to add to our conversation topics, I was reminded of one of only two of my visits to Canada.
I guess I’ve started a 5-yr tradition of providing surprise trips for my wife and me (note the proper grammar – thank you Mr Cayhill). It began with our wonderful trip to St. Bart’s (link) for our 25th wedding anniversary; the trip meant to break my cheapskate reputation. We were married when we were only 20 years old so as number 30 anniversary started to creep up, it also meant that my wife and I would both be turning 50; the big Five-O.
Fifty – it sounds so old, doesn’t it. All of us find it hard to imagine eventually getting to that fossilized age, but we all do….if we’re lucky that is. Since my wife, (and I), were both celebrating ‘getting old’ and also celebrating a special anniversary, I had the idea to plan a unique vacation, this one around our favorite joint pastime; golf. Instead of going to a more traditional spot for us, one like Myrtle Beach or Phoenix, I thought I’d look into something up north.
I began my search in the early part of the year, (using Google of course). We had always gone southward for our vacations so this time I thought I’d try to find something north and specifically I was looking for a golf destination. Kim loves to golf so I thought she’d really like something like that. In my internet search, I stumbled upon a travel agency ad or post, the agency located in Canada on Vancouver Island.
Vancouver Island is located in the northeastern part of the Pacific Ocean, the largest island on the west coast of North America. I knew nothing of that area but after an hour’s worth of reading, I decided it would be a perfect spot for a golf getaway. I called the agency, told them what I was looking for and asked for a couple recommendations for stay and play. They hooked me up with a place called Tigh-Na-Mara for our stay and several golf courses, including one named Pheasant Glen and another named Eaglecrest. For my rental car, what else but a Ford Escape? (Not nearly as sweet as my 2001 Escape filled with two full liters of raw power).
I coordinated with Kim’s parents to surprise Kim for a party and to stay at the house with our youngest son (so as not to return to a heap of cinders). July is one of the best months for Vancouver Island so it made it perfect, July being her birthday month. Also, I sent invitations to all her golf buddies. I wanted her party to be a big surprise, it being the big five-O.
As it turned out, that summer was one of the worst we ever had in the Sacramento area due to wildfires in the Tahoe area. The smoke would roll down the mountains and find its way to the valley until a strong Delta breeze system came through. A couple of days the smoke was so bad that visibility was only maybe 200 yards. The air conditioner got a good workout that year.
Kim had suspected something due to my actions I guess, but when her family arrived a couple days before the surprise party, it made it easy to tell her my big surprise was the fact that her family showed up to help celebrate her 50th. On the day of the party then, her sister and mother took her out for girlie things, you know, pedicures, manicures, shopicures…girlie things.
Meanwhile at home, I had a couple of friends come over to help decorate the backyard in, (what else), black streamers; we are mourning of course. It was July so a bit warm that day so I went in to flip on the patio ceiling fan. Not thinking about the streamers, the fan blades rolled in those that had been draped about it.
For food, I had arranged for a little catering to be prepared by a local barbecue place. Additionally, I decided to cook up a huge pot of crawfish étouffée. Soon, at a predetermined time, the girls all returned and Kim got her “SURPRISE “.
The étouffée was a smash and I managed to pull off a big surprise, not only by the attendance at the surprise party but also by springing on her that she and I would be jetting off in a day to Canada. This trip really came at an opportune time given the horrible smoke from the fires. We were thrilled to get a nice break from the choking.
Our flights were beautiful and event free. OK, so there was that incident with the baggage crew dragging Kim’s brand new luggage across the tarmac. Our rental car was a brand new Ford Escape. Our suite at the Tigh-Na-Mara was fabulous. The restaurants were great, the walks along the beach relaxing and the golf courses, (complete with nesting and soaring eagles), breathtaking. It was one of our more memorable vacations and our relationship built on love was once again rekindled.
So what’s the point of this story, other than a continuing effort to document my most memorable life events? What I think I’ve learned; women, although they may protest, love being surprised. Men, listen up – your woman wants to feel that she found someone special, someone unique. You can achieve this by being funny, being especially loving, generous or many other desirable characteristics. The key, (at least for me), is to always keep them on their toes, make them know that they chose well. And if all else fails?……if your wife doesn’t appreciate you, start writing a blog and threaten your wife with sharing all the things you promised not to share! 😉
This surprise vacation began the decade of our fifties. While growing up, who ever dreams of or desires to turn 50 years old? But you know what? The 50’s have ended up becoming my most favorite decade. It’s true that the body continues to slowly deteriorate but all of my life goals have been achieved during my 50’s. I am finding now that life can be sweet and maybe it’s time to establish a few new longer term objectives.