April 23 • 12:51 PM

Everyday life, extraordinary miracles

November 07, 2007
Days before the sky falls down I receive many miracles. They are real, they are mine...

David, my nephew who's in Iraq for his second tour of duty (15 months this time!) was again hit with an IED. Aside from yet another vast (and hopefully not permanent) hearing loss, he is the only one who walks away from the vehicle unscathed...

...Mom calls and lets me know that Dad's doctor's appointment went well. He is well. All is well again...

...I walk outside to put my ducks and chickens in their coops around dusk. It's so automatic that I don't glance up and out first before sliding the big glass door open. I'm quiet, though, as always and when I approach the steps I glance forward. There are a dozen or so huge birds pecking around my pond. The late day sunlight glints off their irridescent feathers making them all look like kings swathed in muted jewel toned robes. Wild turkeys so big they dwarf my birds. Everyone says they're not very attractive but at this particular moment, they look like the most gorgeous creatures on earth...

...The carryout sandwich I order for a friend is on special. Along with the six inch tuna on Italian with extra cheese I get to choose between a yogurt and chips AND water, soda or chocolate milk. No extra charge! Yogurt (good girl) and chocolate milk (what a treat) and it's lunch...

...I sleep and dream that I meet Stevie Nicks. We talk for a long time and I tell her that she's beautiful. She tells me to follow my pen further, to go where it really leads me, to cut the surface like I used to with its sharp point. Stevie reminds me that "behind every doorway there's a pathway..."

...It's finally Saturday, October 27. It is a day that has been marked off on the calendars of my sisters and me for what seems like a hundred years—even though it's just been since late August.

It is the day we will surprise my dad with an 80th birthday party at Laurel Manor in Livonia—a beautiful, swanky place my sister Roseann chose to hold the celebration. The guest of honor is supposed to arrive at 6:30 p.m. (Roseann is going to pick Dad and Mom up under the guise of some work-related function).

I arrive at 4:15. Roseann and Virginia are already there, messing around with the slideshow that's giving Virginia fits because the computer projector she's hooked into her laptop is suddenly not reading colors. The presentation that they painstakingly put together is looking muted and dull.

Dawn and her family come in at 4:30. Laurel Manor people start hovering around with projectors and whatnot. A kid in a white chef's coat who looks like he's about 12 practically pulls a Saturday Night Live 'Company Computer Guy' "MOVE" on Virginia and starts fiddling around with the keyboard. Within a few minutes that feel like several hours, we have a full color slideshow ready to roll.

Every two minutes we ask each other what time it is. Ironically none of us have a watch on. All of us have our cell phones nearby but we of course don't think to flip them open to refer to the time. It actually eats up a bit more time, all this asking about what time it is...

...Minutes literally ooze by. We debate with various spouses and each other whether or not my dad has a clue about what's coming. Two for, two against. "I just talked to him last night and I'm telling you I don't think he suspects a thing," I say. I don't know if I'm just trying to convince myself because I know my dad. We're a lot alike in the keeping the mouth shut department—sometimes it's a pretty hard thing to do...

...Roseann goes to pick the folks up. More hour-like minutes pass. Finally, the doors to the room open and in walks my dad...

... "Surprise," we all say. And it is. He looks around and slowly takes in the faces of more than 100 of his friends and family. There's a smile on his face that won't quit...

...All of this happens...Miracles...

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