I expected to observe my 40th birthday with a suitable combination of quiet fellowship, sober reflection and abject mourning.
Little did I suspect that my wife--all the while playing along with (feigned) nonchalance and (genuine) exhaustion--had set in motion an elaborate campaign of deception worthy of D-Day.
So when I opened the back gate to our yard Friday night, expecting to make a brief stop on the way to dinner, I was astounded to find my way obstructed by fifty of my closest friends, relatives and creditors.
The camera recorded my flabbergasted state, but, alas, not the tableau before me. As my eyes darted from face to face, trying to ascertain the dimensions of this vast conspiracy, I could only compare the scene to a cover of an album which, coincidentally, had been released forty years ago to the day:
In retrospect, I would like to credit the surprise not to my dull and unsuspecting mind, but to the ingenuity of Lisa's strategems and the silence of her co-conspirators.
Speaking of whom, I would be remiss in failing to thank everyone who kept the cat firmly in bag, and helped my lovely wife make this such a memorable and touching event. Not least were the out-of-towners Martin, Robin, Blake and Mami, who made the trek from distant climes; the Toucans, who lent their musical chops to the proceedings both above and below ground; Julie, for her critical logistical support; and finally Laurie, whose loan of a karaoke machine provided a decisive turn of events around the midnight hour. Very little of what followed do I actually remember, but there are quite a few photographs: