New Castle News

July 21, 2012

Josh Drespling: Surprise party knocked my socks off — but I’ve got plenty more

Josh Drespling
New Castle News

NEW CASTLE — I was tricked, bamboozled and had the wool pulled over my eyes.

There had been a keen line of trickery, deception and misdirection laid out by my family, friends and co-workers. I was oblivious to the event that was soon to befall me.

I walked down the stone pathway at my parents’ house that led to their garage door. As I turned the corner with my wife ahead of me, she opened the door. From the opening in the door I could see my grandfather in his usual orientation. He was standing with a camera in the ready to shoot position — and it was pointed at me for some odd reason. Before I could contemplate the peculiarity of this I was greeted with a vociferous chorus of SUPRISE!!!

The shouts startled me. The 40 or so people crammed into my parents’ basement stunned me. That, coupled with the fact that I still had my sunglasses on and my eyes had not adjusted to the darkness of the basement, heightened the surprise. As everything came into focus it became quite apparent that my wife had pulled off the surprise 40th birthday party.  

I had no idea, and fell for every white lie that I was fed over the previous weeks. I usually pick up on every little nuance and detail or if something is askew or out of place. Not this time, though. Maybe it was the fact that she did it over two weeks before my birthday. Maybe it’s that I'm getting too old and feeble.

As the evening progressed I kept getting pestered to open my gifts. You have to understand, I really don’t like opening gifts in front of people. I feel self-conscious and put on the spot. What if it’s an awful gift, then I've got to grin and lie and tell them how nice it is.  I just don’t like doing it, but I relented and took a seat beside the pile of gifts.

If you are a regular reader on my blog, you may remember a piece I did several months ago about what a glorious gift socks make. Little did I know this would come back to haunt me on my 40th birthday.  

The first gift I opened was a multi-pack of socks. “Nice,” I thought to myself as I recalled I had just bought myself a 12 pack at Walmart a few days prior.

The second present was a gift bag full of socks.  “More socks!” I exclaimed as I held them up for all to see.

The third gift began to fall into a pattern as I opened it and realized that it was more socks. At this point my wife stood up and declared that she had an announcement. She relayed how I had written a blog about what a wonderful gift socks are and how I would love to get them as gifts. My face turned red as I realized that my own words had turned against me.

What was meant to be a quirky reflection on gift giving quickly became a mantra that I fear I may be saddled with for the remainder of my life. Knowing my friends and family, I will from this day forward receive socks as gifts.

I continued through the pile of gifts and nearly every one of them were socks. In total, I received 87 pairs of socks. Some people were creative and stuffed the socks with cash or included cards with money, but the socks were the hit of the party. I will forever remember my 40th birthday party as the one where I received a lifetime supply of socks.

Thanks to all who contributed to the memory! Now I'm going to go put on three pairs of socks in the 90-degree heat.

Just ’cause I can.