Chasing the Muse
Happy 90th Birthday Lewie Wright!
My “dad” has crossed over the 80th bridge, and now wears 90 proudly.
Lewie had been a life long Laguna resident before his house was demolished in the Bluebird landslide. Now, he’s slipped over the ridgeline to Laguna Woods, but has moved forward with plans on his newly reconstructed lot on Flamingo Road.
The 90 number is hard to believe. Lewie continues to play golf two or more times a week, as well as with ride his bike along the various trails in Orange County with a couple of his cronies. He’s an avid bridge player. To say he’s fit is an understatement, and that he is strong and healthy is an enormous gift to all of his family.
To celebrate the magic moment, Mom (Kay Wright) planned a surprise party of his extended family members. She enlisted the help of his two oldest children. Lewis and his wife, June, handled the invitations and the RSVPs.
As Mom said, “I can’t have all the family calling the house. I think he’d get suspicious.”
Daughter Janie, and her husband, Bob Yauger, were responsible for handling interference. They called to arrange to take him to an early birthday lunch. Since they live in Oakhurst, CA and had a long drive, they suggested celebrating on Sunday, the day before his actual birthday, August 18th.
My sister, Claudia, flew in from Idaho. Her birthday is on the 14th, and we padded the potential surprise by a co-birthday dinner for the two of them. Lewie’s youngest son, Bobby, and his wife, Pam, joined in with cards and gifts for Lewie, so he’d never suspect that any more party was coming his way.
On Sunday, Claudia and I arrived at the Lonestar Restaurant in Lake Forest around 11 AM, laden with flowers, ribbons, confetti, cards and the chocolate cake I had baked. Mom had reserved a room in the back, and the tables were pre-set for our expected 32 guests. I was juggling the cake and ribbon when I spotted Janie and Bob heading for the door. I grabbed Claudia and ducked behind the bushes. What were they doing there? They were supposed to bring Lewie at noon, not 11! The room wasn’t even decorated yet!
Turns out, they didn’t have Lewie with them at all. They were dropping off the grandkids before going to get Dad. It was great to have their help in diving up candy party favors and spreading the cowboy themed confetti.
Before Lewie arrived, the room had filled to it’s maximum. The rests of the family guest included: Step-daughters - Claudia and Catharine (me), Grandchildren – Francis, Samantha, Jeff, Taylor, Parker, Cooper and his girlfriend, Kerri, Great-grandchildren – Ashley and her boyfriend, Chris, Emily, Sarah, Nadia, David, Jessica, and Jennifer, and Niece Peggy and her son Kirt.
Presents were ‘banned’ but cards encouraged. It was great fun to see how many actual ‘90th’ cards had been found.
Instead of 90 candles, a potential fire hazard, I had settled on a big ‘9’ and an ‘0’. Once lit, I carried the cake to his table while all the family gathered round and sang in celebration.
Happy Birthday, Lewie. May this be the best year of your life.
Catharine Cooper is a writer/photographer/designer who thrives on off-beaten trails. She can be reached at email@example.com.
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