We decided it would be fun to celebrate in WI with Jean and John who share an anniversary on the same day. I thought it would be fun to surprise Bruce, so contacted the rest of his sister's and some cousins who live out there. It really wasn't that hard because he has never been snoopy, unlike me.
After double checking with my chore girl, Jillian and her mother, Jaylene, I left all my animals in their capable hands and we headed out at the butt crack of dawn on Thursday morning, the day before Bruce's birthday. It's always stressful for us country mice to battle the big city traffic, throw in road construction and a lengthy detour and we feel fortunate to arrive in one piece. After a hearty lunch, I retired to the sun room with a book while Bruce, Jean and John went golfing, I think I got the better deal.
The first surprise was sister Carol, who rode the train down from Minneapolis, "Hello, Brucie!"
Then Janet and Gerald, who we thought were coming and then didn't think were coming and then came.
As with any Nielsen gathering, there is plentiful food, Carol was amazed at the Salzwedel's well stocked liquor cabinet, a toddy was in order for the traveler.
Friday morning, the Big Day!, all the golfers took off for the course, those of us who would rather mow lawns than golf, took off for Kohl's, 30% off coupons clutched in their hot little hands.
We came, we spent, we conquered.
The second surprise was a birthday supper at the Essen Haus, a German restaurant that Bruce has wanted to return to ever since we were there several years ago. He only knew we had reservations for 7:00 someplace so when we pulled up and he saw where we were, he let out a, "Yo, Ho, Ho!" (You who like polka's know what I'm talking about.)
In the parking lot was nephew Scott and son, Corey.
Niece and Goddaughter, Kelsey.
Inside the surprises keep coming, Nephew John C with wife Carla, one of Bruce's fishing partners in MN.
Cousin Brian from Dodgeville joining the festivities.
Our cute waitress, with Jean looking smug that we pulled it off....
....and waiter, not bad legs for a guy!
Father and daughter, Lori and John.
Father and son, clowning around.
Shirley and Rich
And joining every gathering are the inevitable cell phones.
If you are really into it, you get a boot of beer, the table next to us had at least three.
Brian's daughters, Cheney, who married last fall and now is sporting a baby bump, her husband talking to Janet and Casey, back from the east coast.
We all sang a rousing rendition of "Happy Birthday" to Bruce and we did such a good job that the table next to us requested we sing to a birthday girl at their table so we obliged.
Picture time for the family.
Then it was polka time! Bruce and Janet...
....Bruce and Kelsey.....
...Bruce and I throwing in a little swing with the polka.
John, Bruce and Brian
The weekend went on with more food, more golfing, more shopping, a little more drinking, going to church to round out the weekend, and more food. The birthday weekend drew to a close with a dinner cruise on Lake Monona.
A little muskrat baby on shore getting his greens for the day.
Shirley, John and Rich enjoying the cruise.
Bruce and 'Captain Stubby', deep in conversation
Janet and Foof with the Capitol building and Madison skyline in the background.
Foof and Jean, it was a lovely evening for a cruise and all the food we could eat, except the rolls, they must have miscounted and shorted some people who were not happy! We, who did get a roll, didn't tell them they didn't miss much!
Monday morning was traveling day but first we stopped in Livingston and attended the funeral of Bruce's Aunt Tootie, who was just as considerate in death as she was in life. She had been struggling with health issues before we left for WI, we thought we would be making a second trip out there for her funeral. But Tootie didn't want to put us out.
This picture was taken last fall at granddaughter Cheney's wedding, with daughter Marilyn and Janet. Tootie was able to make her own decision for her end of life and we should all be so lucky. The funeral was huge, they had a visitation starting at 9:00 AM before the service and there was a steady stream of people paying their respects to the family, the church was packed, a tribute to how much she was loved.
We left right after the service, home called, hay to bale, animals to attend to and I was missing my critters.
Jean, you need to get a dog!
It's always fun to go, but there is no place like home and it was a great homecoming. Jillian's father, Tim, mowed our yard while we were gone, that was the first thing I noticed, what a guy! I raced around, doing a speed greeting of all the animals, counting heads and finding some surprises, before I had to go help Bruce with the hay.
I'll give you a clue....
This was a birthday Bruce will always remember, sometimes it's fun to be all about you!
To be continued......