You know, the problem with trying to surprise someone is that the bigger the surprise, the more elaborate you have to deceive them to get them there.
This week, Sunday afternoon, my mom came in for a visit. We'd agreed that we would make it a surprise for the kids.
It would have been easy to do had I just fetched her at the airport and brought her home - surprise!
But for some reason Saturday night I blurted out, "Whoever chooses to be on good behavior tomorrow morning will get to go with me on a magical mystery trip in the afternoon."
Immediately after saying this, I realized my shortsighted error. How could I get them to the airport without them figuring out that we were picking someone up? And who else have we ever picked up there besides Nana?
The next day, I really have no idea what to do, and when 1:30 rolls around and we pile into the car, I have to start improvising.
First, instead of taking the highway, we drive through town.
You know those parts of the city that you're really not supposed to go through?
Where every other house is boarded up?
It's the scenic route.
"Where are you taking us?" they keep asking.
"It's a surprise! Don't you want to be surprised?"
Luckily, none of them have seen this route before, and they were completely unsuspecting.
And I get to show them the two crab take-outs that compete for customers on S. Monroe.
One boasts, "FAT AND FINE" and "CHEAP!"
The other claims, "BETTER CRABS THAN THE OTHER GUYS"
However, soon enough they are going to figure out that we were at the airport. How am I going to explain this without telling a lie?
"Abba, we're at the airport!!"
"Really? The airport? How did we end up here?"
"Let's see, maybe I can turn around in here," I said, pulling into the daily garage. "Oh no, this is the wrong way!" I turn around and then continue towards the hourly garage.
Pulling into the hourly garage, someone shouts from the back, "Where are we going?"
"I don't think they'll charge us if we in here for a short time. Anyway, since we're here, I have to go to the bathroom" (which is true).
Goldy will report later that at this point she's started getting frustrated. She has a flute lesson at 3:30 and it looked to her like the entire Magical Mystery Adventure is being scuttled by my disorientation.
"Hurry up, Abba!" she says as I park near the elevators.
"I'm not leaving you all in the car! Come on, we're all going in. Anyway, it would be good to stretch our legs. I think the fastest bathrooms are going to be near baggage claim...."
Down by baggage claim Goldy thinks it's strange that I'm looking at the incoming flight list. "Hmm... look at all these flights coming in from all over the world."
Inwardly, she's telling herself, "Gamzu l'tova, it must be for the best..." but she cannot imagine why I'm acting so bizarrely.
"Abba, we should just go home. We don't have time for the Adventure. Really."
"Goldy, you worry too much."
"Really, Abba, let's just go home."
For some reason, Nana's flight is the only one not showing a baggage area. Gotta keep improvising. I'm counting on them not remembering exactly which elevator we came down. "Come on, let's go this way!" Maybe we'll run into her.
We haven't gone twenty steps when Nana finds us, sneaks up on Goldy and gives her the surprise of her life.
Question for your table: Did it ever happen that you thought you were totally on the wrong track, and it turned out for the best?
PS - Mazal tov to Goldy on her 13th birthday. I teased her that she's now "bar" mitzvah (as opposed to becoming "bat" mitzvah at 12.) If you missed her uplifting Dvar Torah back then, or you want to read it again, click here.
PPS - Ver 2.1 of my iphone app (link below) is now out. If you have a previous version, please get the free update, I think you'll be pleased with the improvements!
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