hgazette.com, Haverhill, MA


April 18, 2013

Letting a birthday cat out of the bag


No one had the slightest suspicion that I had caught on to my own surprise party. All I had to do was be a good pretender.

My 50th was well documented. We rented out a room at a Lebanese restaurant with all the dining pleasures. Everything was going well until an Oriental (belly) dancer pranced her way inside and teased me with her vales.

Yes, it was a trifle embarrassing, but nonetheless, a half-century was marked and people got a chuckle out of it.

My 60th, as I recall, was highlighted by a bouquet of black balloons hanging over my chair and a visit from The Grim Reaper. A buddy of mine did a superb acting job in costume, even though I wasn’t ready for such an ominous visit.

Now here we were for Number 70, and the big day arrived. Guests had made it a point to park their cars in remote places to avoid any suspicions. Why was I so jittery when I knew the plan?

I opened the door and a chorus of voices ushered me inside. “Surprise!”

My acting job couldn’t have worked any better.

Writer and photographer Tom Vartabedian is retired from The Haverhill Gazette. He contributes this regular column.

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