On Saturday night, we had the chance to celebrate my parents’ 40th anniversary. We did it in a truly special way as my dad surprised my mom. He organized reservations at one of Spokane’s best and swankiest restaurants, Clinkerdagger. My mom knew that after the Saturday night vigil mass they would be heading to the restaurant but she didn’t think anyone would be waiting for her.
My dad was adamant that the three of us children and our spouses be at the dinner. He wanted us to join in the celebration and to help my mom’s night be just a little more special. My sister coordinated a babysitter for all our children so they could play together while we all enjoyed a night out. As to be expected, when we go out to restaurants for large family dinners, things can get a little hectic, so it was nice to just have the adults present on Saturday night. Sure, it seemed a little strange at first to just have the eight of us at a table but we quickly realized that the peace and quiet was quite spectacular.
Clinkerdagger gave us one of their best tables that overlooked the Spokane Falls. They put tiny celebratory streamers on the table in recognition of the joyous occasion. The staff went out of their way to inquire about the beautiful marriage and to extend their congratulations.
When my dad brought my mom into the dining area, she didn’t even recognize all of us sitting there. She literally saw right past us. We had to quietly call out to her to grab her attention. Once she saw us the surprise took full effect. After a bewildered moment she was finally able to speak.
“Where are the kids?” she stammered.
From that point the dinner was on. We savored the moments we had from one of the best views in Spokane as we talked and relaxed. Oh yeah, there was food too. I ordered ribs and Sid ordered Dijon chicken but we split the two dishes right down the middle when they were brought to us (can’t go wrong with that!).
After the dishes were cleared but before the Clinkerdagger staff brought out complimentary crème brulee to my parents, our table discussion narrowed. We started chatting about the marriage of my mom and dad. I asked the cliché question of what has been their “secret” over the past four decades and then other people at the table asked follow up questions dealing with their first date, favorite vacation, and more. It was an intimate way to put the focus on my parents and let them distribute some golden nuggets of knowledge to us regarding marriage.
My parents will celebrate their actual anniversary a week from today (Aug. 16). It will be an additional opportunity to congratulate them on a fantastic marriage. However, I sure enjoyed the opportunity to recognize the milestone in the setting that we did this past Saturday. Thanks for always being the best example, mom and dad! Don’t Blink.
Here is a slide show that chronicles some of the best moments from my parents’ marriage.