On March 14, my dozen year relationship with Kathy resulted in a decade long marriage. We celebrated our 10 year anniversary by surprising each other on Friday and Saturday. Then, on Sunday, I helped surprise my parents to honor their 40 year anniversary.
After work on Friday (our actual anniversary), I "kidnapped" Kathy and drove her to the Chart House, high up in the hills of Southwest Portland. Valet parking, mouthwatering seafood, and one of the best tableside views overlooking downtown Portland all helped to make the night special and unpredictable for Kathy. Tossing in a 14K, diamond-studded anniversary ring (in place of the tacky gift card that I had been teasing her with) alongside the Chocolate Lava Cake dessert also seemed like a nice touch.
Kathy's anniversary surprise to me was a couple's full-body massage at Ruby's Spa at McMenamins' Edgefield in Troutdale on Saturday. We capped off the afternoon (hey, we're getting old now!) with a St. Patrick's Day dinner on the grounds, followed by enjoying some live Irish music.
The third surprise celebration was on Sunday. My sister Girl (a.k.a. Summer) and I had been planning for a few months to have a 40th anniversary party for my parents, Doug and Susan, unbeknownst to them. Girl came up with the initial idea (and did much of the leg work), and I helped her amp up the details.
Most of Sunday afternoon was spent finalizing the slide show. I cut it so close that I had to send my laptop ahead with Kathy while the DVD was completing the burning process. I drove to Vancouver and put my aforementioned kidnapping skills to use by herding my parents into the Jeep and driving to Warner Pacific College. WPC is where they first met. The Woodstock Church of God, where they married, is now a Korean church and was not available.
As my parents and I approached the door of Kardatzke Hall, I explained to them that Girl and I had made preparations for them to renew their marriage vows (we also had a plan B, respecting that this should be their decision to make). They excitedly accepted the offer, and I ushered them inside.
The people who yelled "Surprise!" included their original wedding party, as well as Pastor Hooker, who was the actual minister who performed their ceremony in 1968. At the conclusion of the slide show, everyone walked up the stairs from Kardatzke into Schlatter Chapel. With family and friends looking on, my parents renewed their vows.
The evening concluded downstairs, where we all enjoyed food, cake, a toast, and a time of sharing to commemorating my parents' commitment to each other. In 30 years, assuming that God plans to keep us living in this world, Kathy and I will be celebrating the same achievement.