My father was a romantic soul. He would often buy flowers or perfume or jewelry for Mom for no reason other than he loved her. He went all out for anniversaries, new dress for Mom, dinner at a nice restaurant, and a mushy romantic card. But, there was one anniversary that was a bit different. It was Tuesday, Oct. 8, 1968, and I remember it like it was yesterday.
Mom had given Dad hints all day. She made breakfast, his favorite French toast with her special homemade syrup. She put a card for him next to his plate. He ate with obvious oblivion and even covered up her card with the morning newspaper. For supper, she made his absolute favorite meal of fried chicken, mashed potatoes, gravy, corn, homemade biscuits, and apple pie still warm from the oven. She even used the good dishes, the ones we saved for Easter, Thanksgiving, and Christmas. Dad was still obviously oblivious!
We sat down that evening to watch TV. Rather, Dad and I watched TV and Mom watched (I mean glared) at Dad. I even tried a subtle hint of my own while doing my homework. As I wrote my name on my math paper, I casually asked, “Hey, Dad, what is today’s date?” He casually answered, unaware of the date’s significance.
Just before I tucked myself in for the night, I could take no more. I had to find a way to get Dad off the hook. There was still a little time left before midnight, maybe he could pull something off to save himself. I stuck my head out my bedroom door and yelled, “Good night, Mom and Dad. Happy Anniversary!”
What followed next will go down in history as the loudest shocked intake of breath known to man. “Oh, no!” Dad whispered. “OH, YES!” Mom didn’t whisper! Then she started laughing while I ran to vigorously pat Dad on the back to restart his breathing. It took him five days and five outstandingly great gifts to get himself out of hot water! He never forgot their wedding anniversary again.