And Sometimes, EVERYTHING Goes Right! (Why?)

Posted by Dave

Once in a great while, a party clicks from start to finish. It doesn’t happen nearly often enough, so when it does, I find it instructive to look at the individual elements of the event to see if we can learn why this particular evening was such a success.

Saturday night, my band played at a 75th birthday party. As at many such gatherings, the guest list included family, business associates, and old friends. This particular honoree happens to be a James Bond fan, so his wife and daughters decorated each table with photos and memorabilia based around the titles of various 007 films. A lot of thought went into making each table unique. All night long, guests table-hopped to see the story of an interesting life told chapter by chapter, table by table.

Just before the doors opened to the ballroom, the grandchildren were reminded that this was “Pop-Pop’s” night – not theirs. The warning was heeded – they remained well-behaved throughout.

As soon as the guests were seated, one of Pop-Pop’s beautiful and talented granddaughters sang an emotion-charged rendition of “America The Beautfiul.” A prayer followed. 5 minutes into the night, the tone was already set for an evening of fun, but also one which reflected the honoree’s values of God, Country, and Family.

After dinner, the lights dimmed, and a very respectable copy of Sean Connery (complete with Scottish burr) entered to pay tribute to Pop-Pop. Toasts from the crowd followed, but they were divided in such a way as to reduce repetition. One of the five children spoke for all, as did the oldest grandchild for his generation. A business associate and a life-long friend rounded out the speakers.

Then it was the Pop-Pop’s turn. He was genuinely moved by the outpouring of affection. But he put it all in perspective by telling us that every word which had just been said about him, he would say about his own older brother and mentor, seated nearby. There wasn’t a dry eye in the house, my own included.

Swing dancing, the honoree’s favorite, followed. Whatever their own musical tastes, the grandkids kept their requests to themselves. It was Pop-Pop’s night, indeed.

James Bond may get the girls and gadgets, but I doubt if Pop-Pop feels even a twinge of jealousy. He has something far greater – family and friends who love him enough to make his special night one that all of us will remember with affection. And one which any of us who are planning a similar event would do well to emulate.


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