Monday, December 04, 2006

My Thirtieth Birthday

I turn thirty on December 17th. My wife had asked me about a month ago if I wanted a party with some friends and family, and I had said that it sounded like a great idea. Nothing more was mentioned after that discussion, and with December rolling in so quickly, I thought we probably wouldn't do anything. Little did I know that my wife, my parents and her parents had been planning a party so beyond the scale of a simple friends and family get together that it will stand in my mind as the greatest party I have ever attended.

For Halloween, my wife and I decided to get some medieval outfits. Not the cheesy plastic outfits sold at local stores but the kind that are custom made from the Ukraine. These were not inexpensive costumes, but we reasoned that not only could we use them for Halloween, but we could also attend some of the nearby Renaissance Fairs.

My wife approached me with an opportunity to don the costumes on Saturday, December 2nd. She told me that someone was writing a story for a local free paper in which they wanted to discuss the appeal of fantasy and medieval times. The article would feature pictures of people dressed accordingly.

We drove to the German American Klub a little past 6 PM because this was allegedly the location for the pictures, and it made sense because the restaurant is located inside a park. As we walked to the entrance, we found two people dressed similar to us, and my wife said that we were there for the pictures. They ushered us inside and pointed to a set of doors on the main floor.

I stepped inside the banquet hall and was startled by a shout of “Huzzah!” from about 80 people. Musicians, character actors, friends and family filled the room, and my mind became confused in trying to understand how all the pieces went together. I glanced at my wife and asked, “What is this?” She said, “Happy Birthday.”

The evening of food, frolic and fun swept past so quickly that I can hardly recount everything that occurred. My father-in-law, the king, knighted me. I read from a scroll that contained an excerpt from my latest fantasy short story. One of the character actors from Phoenix Swords taught me some basic sparring moves with a rapier and dagger. A number of us (including the character actors) learned dances that matched some of the songs performed by The Dragon Scale Consort. My cake was shaped like a castle, and the meal was served without utensils (aside from a spoon for the soup and a knife for the butter).

It was such a magical night that I wish I could turn thirty every year (assuming that doing so would result in the same party). I am extremely grateful to my wife, my parents and my parents-in-law for their efforts. I also wish to thank all those who attended, especially those who came in costume or helped in additional ways, many of whose efforts I may not have even noticed. The greatest blessing was seeing so many friends and family gathered together, wishing me the best birthday ever.


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