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65th Year and Counting

On June 21st, my parents will celebrate their 65th wedding anniversary. We are a very close family — thus my sisters (three, all younger) and I wanted to do something special for them in celebration of another major milestone.

However, we previously set the bar quite high back in 1991 when we gave them a Caribbean cruise for their 50th anniversary. The planning started two years in advance since we had to guestimate the cost of the cruise, save money to pay for it and obtain help from a cruise specialist travel agent. The “reveal” came when my parents were visiting me in California. We had compiled a cruise album with maps and pictures — plus a nicely printed “announcement” telling them of the trip. When my mom opened the gift box, she thought it was a photo album — she opened it up and raced through looking for pictures of her kids. We had to make her slow down and read the “announcement”. Of course, she was floored with the surprise. My aunt and uncle decided to join them on the trip and they all had a great cruise.

For their 60th anniversary in 2001, we also came up with a wonderful plan. Since we live scattered around the country (Arizona, Florida and Delaware while our folks live in Maryland), we decided a reunion at Mom & Dad’s house would be the ticket —although no big reveal this time. So we make our travel plans but fate intervened to dampen our plans— Mom was diagnosed with breast cancer and would still be undergoing chemotherapy at the designated time. We decided to stick with our plans and it was a wonderful get-together — although Mom was a bit distracted and could not fully enjoy the festivities.

So when it came to planning the 65th anniversary this year, we quickly decided a redo of 2001 was in order. Then the big question — how will we reveal the secret? Since there were no other ideas on the table, I offered to create a greeting card. My idea was to use a picture of the four of us “kids” with the theme Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner?, which most of you will remember as the name of a famous movie. The following two pictures show the outside and inside of the card.

The inside artwork looks a lot better on paper than it does onscreen — but you get the idea.

Mom and Dad were ecstatic with the surprise. So I quickly booked my trip to take advantage of low advance fares. Now that I’m retired, I have the flexibility on days of travel and length of stay — and two weeks sounded good — and I saved a few retiree dollars by adjusting the days of travel slightly. My sisters, who are still working, will not stay quite as long — but we will all enjoy each other’s company — plus the great Maryland seafood like crabs and clams and fresh fish. My brother-in-law and I will likely enjoy some great golfing — and we’ll all take in childhood memories of Ocean City (the boardwalk and beach), our grandmother’s house and my great-grandfather’s house (both homes are still standing but have been converted to offices) and other landmarks. But the biggest celebration will be acknowledgement of the 5-year anniversary of the discovery and treatment of Mom’s cancer. She is now officially in remission! I can hardly wait to make that toast.

Life is good.

B. David

P. S., All photos and text © B. David Cathell Photography, Inc. — www.bdavidcathell.com