I’m not one to be taken by surprise as very little gets past me. Even at a young age my parents had to hatch nefarious plots whenever they wanted to keep something secret. The few times that anyone has ever pulled a fast one on me are burned into my memory, particularly one instance performed by my grandmother.

During the summer after my sixth grade year, I did something I’d never done before. I went to a summer camp. It was a band camp and–before you yawn and go elsewhere–I did more than play instruments all day. Okay, I played instruments for most of it, just not all. I love music and–despite hours of practice that left reed marks on my chin–I enjoyed myself. We were housed on a university campus that had a pool (score!), a game room (double score!), and a cafeteria that suspiciously resembled a restaurant and contained a ridiculous number of desserts. Did I mention that they had ice cream?

The only downer was that the camp occurred in June which is when my birthday falls. The university campus was half a days drive from my house so there’d be no popping in of my parents to wish me a happy birthday. Don’t get me wrong, my family did celebrate it, either before or after the camp, but it was disappointing. I talked to my parents every day as well as my maternal grandmother. She promised me that she was sending me something that would arrive on my birthday. I was ecstatic and eagerly counted down each day as it came and went on my calendar.

Dawn broke on my birthday and I was bouncing from the moment I got up to the time we assembled for lunch. During that period the heads of the camp would call out the names of people who got packages and letters. I waited. As time passed, however, my excitement dimmed as more and more people were called. Finally, the name calling stopped. I hadn’t been amongst them. I went up to the adults and said that I was expecting something and would they be ever so nice to check again. They did and were gone long enough that my thin shoulders drooped.

The next thing I knew a group of people were walking towards me carrying a cake with candles on it. They were singing happy birthday–along with the hundred or so other people in the room. I was shocked. Flummoxed. Speechless for once in my life. I’d been expecting a gift, a present, maybe a card with some money in it. Never in my wildest dreams had I anticipated that my grandmother would order a cake to be made and delivered to me.

As I ate the cake and shared it with other kids in and near my dorm, I learned that being surprised isn’t always bad.

In fact, it can be down right tasty.


Disclaimer: I do not own the imagery used in this blog post and have nor artistic right to it.


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