[M.A.P.L.E. V-23] Surprise!

Surprises. Sometimes, they are bad things, like when you open your apartment door and find a screaming goat.

Or, they can be good things like a party or an unexpected appearance!

I categorize surprise parties or experiences in three different situations, as follows:

  • The Surprisee: the person who is subjected to the surprise party, appearance, or whatnot. (Typically a birthday person or engaged couple, but other situations can be applied to this, like the fact that I was the surprisee for a חנוכה  (Hanukkah) party in 2006.
  • The Surpriser: The organizer of a surprise party or surprise appearance.
  • The Guest: An attendee in on the surprise. (In the 2006 party mentioned above, the Nebraska basketball team were The Guests).

So, I’d like to list some of the surprise events that I have attended, and maybe a few details if I recall them.

  • Papa’s 70th birthday party, 2001. I was one of The Guests, and it was at an unassuming venue in the Haymarket District of Lincoln. The surprise was that all of my aunts and uncles were there. Unfortunately, I was not very engaged with the party, because the food didn’t suit my fancy at the time. A nice thing for me at the party, however, was that Aunt Soni gave me the replacement for my בר מצווה (bar mitzvah) blanket after the original got lost in the mail.
  • Sixth night of Hanukkah, 2006. The link to the M.M.X.I.V. 30 post has all the details about that party. It was the first time that I was the Surprisee, and is still the only time that I was the Surprisee. What fun it was!
  • May 2012. I was going to Prairie Moon with my colleague Ben after an evening of bridge with friends Mickey and Joe. We were there as Guests of a surprise party for my colleague Kaitlin and her fiancee Rob. It was a lot of fun.
  • March 2013. This was the end-result of the cryptic clues that I had posted on Facebook for ten days prior to my Lincoln trip for Passover. I was the Surpriser, though I had revealed my intentions to almost everyone in my family… except the Surprisee Mom. When I showed up at the door the afternoon before the second seder, Mom looked at me with a quizzical look before realizing, IT’S NOAH! She broke down in happy tears, and gave me a big hug, before realizing with a panic, “I don’t have any room at the table for you!” Thankfully, she rearranged things and  I got a seat at the table as the “Family Elijah.” And yes, there was spirited ma-ROOOOOOAAAAAAARRRRR during the Four Questions!
  • September 2015. Because classes had not started at UW-Stout yet, I drove from Menomonie to Evanston for the long weekend, and stayed with my friend Dina from Birthright. We went to the Northwestern-vs-Stanford football game, and my friends Marilyn, Liz, Evans, Phil, and others weren’t expecting me since they knew I had moved to Menomonie. So, I, along with Dina, showed up to their tailgate, and just like Mom’s situation, they were puzzled and then enthralled to see me! Once again, I had to withhold information from them until I got to the tailgate, and then tell them the whole story!
  • Yesterday. After I had finished in Madison, I drove toward the Chicagoland area, in order to have dinner with, and sleep over at, the house of Dina’s family. I had gotten in contact with her dad the week before after Aunt Soni let me know she wouldn’t be able to host me the night before my interview today. Dina’s parents were able and willing to host me, but I beseeched them, “Don’t tell Dina.”
    En route to “Menomonie,” I called Dina, as is our tradition on Sundays. I somehow managed to bluff my way through the question “When is your interview with Carthage?” to which I responded “Later this week.” Well, Monday was later this week with respect to Sunday. :p
    I got to the house, and Dina and her brother were out getting a birthday gift for their grandfather, for whom we were going out to dinner with that night. When they got back, Dina came into the kitchen, saw me standing there, and with the same quizzical look as what Mom had in 2013, then said, “What… What…” and I yelled “Surprise!” She gave me a big hug, and it made her day!

So I’m now 3-for-3 on being the successful Surpriser, and what pleasure it has brought to the Surprisees. Unfortunately, there are no pictures of any of the surprise parties outside of the basketball party. The words will just have to do!

Today is the twenty-third day of the fifth round of M.A.P.L.E. That makes three weeks and two days.

היום שלושים יום-שהם ארבעה שבועות שני ימים לעומר

Rochester: 4 days.

Kenosha West: 9 days.

Twenty-Nine: 41 days.

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