Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Anniversary Surprise

Alabama Waffle House locations offering romantic
Valentine's Day dinners by candlelight

I recently found the above ad on one of my Alabama cousin's Facebook page.  It brought back memories of my parent's fiftieth Wedding Anniversary.  

They were married after my father was discharged from his WWll military service.  During those lean years weddings tended to be small affairs.  After my parent's church ceremony, the wedding party along with friends and family had dinner at a nice local restaurant.  Few folks could afford a reception with lots of guests like today.

When my parents 50th anniversary came around, we children planned a  reception for them complete with dinner and dancing.  On another evening my parents planned to reenact their wedding dinner at the original restaurant. It is still in operation to this day and is now a historic landmark. The dinner would be attended by the surviving members of their first guest list. They were even going to be served the same menu. 

 My father wanted to go one step further and do something unique and romantic for just the two of them.  Dad made all the plans himself keeping the details a secret from everyone.

 My parents lived in a rural area and once a week would go into town to do errands and  grocery shop.  They usually stopped at my mother's favorite restaurant for lunch.  On the big day Dad did every thing he could think of to make them late getting into town without raising my mother's suspicion.   When they arrived at Mom's restaurant it was the slowest time of the afternoon.  They were met at the door by the manager who escorted them to their table.  The table was set with a linen table cloth, two gold rimmed china plates, sterling silver flatware, wine glasses, linen napkins in some fancy origami fold, two lit candles and a crystal bud vase of red roses. A waiter wearing a long white apron (as if he had stepped out of central casting for a part in a fancy french restaurant) with a white towel nearly folded over his forearm approached and made a big production of opening and pouring sparking cider into their wine glasses. A bit later he returned with a silver tray containing their weekly lunch order.  

As my parents were sitting enjoying their special dinner another couple came in and sat at a nearby table. They couldn't stop watching my parents with great curiosity but never spoke.  Finally, as my father was helping my mother with her coat, Dad  turned to the couple and said one simple sentence.  "It's our 50th wedding anniversary." 

I guess I should mention that Mom's favorite restaurant was then and still is Taco Bell. The meal was three regular tacos, one for Mom and two for Dad. The couple who were watching my parents at Taco Bell would have seen My Dad, a small gray-haired man dressed in his everyday attire of a matching set of Kaki colored work clothes; and my Mom wearing blue jeans with a sweatshirt embroidered with the names of all her grandkids. Hardly the gown and tux you would expect a couple to wear sitting at a table laid out like theirs was.

My parents were married 59 years when my father passed away.  My mother is now ninety and her immediate family totals 84 people with twenty great-grandchildren and five more expected by midyear. 


  1. I love this! I can just see this happening through your words! A beautiful love story.

  2. Wow!
    Your mother has quite a tribe. That is awesome. I can also picture your parents walking into their favorite Taco Bell. Great post