Friday, February 12, 2010

Surprise Birthday Party

Lynne really pulled one on me! Surprise! Birthday Party--should have expected it because I am blasting into my 60th birthday come February 15. But, Lynne nailed me a week early.

Oh, it was fun! Yet, it humbled me. Hard to explain.

First, I saw Ildko Dobos-Barbaric and her dear mother. Aha! Something's up. Ildiko's husband, Bela, comes in. We had dinner with them on Sunday and they never mentioned so much as a word about my birthday. How did I miss that signal? Yet, it was so good to see them. So, I thought this is the birthday bash.

Well, I was totally surprised when the waiter led us to our table. As we turned a corner there were two of the famous Bolyki Boys with their families singing "Happy Birthday". I was STUNNED! I had no idea. Lynne's face was beaming. She was in a zone--totally happy that I was surprised.

I greeted them one by one and noted that we were in a separate room at the Trofea Restaurant in Budapest ... lots of tables and chairs. "Hey, there's lots of tables in here," I said. "Didn't you know?" said Laci Bolyki, "There are others coming. Bali [his brother] is coming and others." Say what??? "Duh, I didn't know anything about this." Laci loved this.

Sure enough, Gyuri Bolyki and his family walk into the room and greet me with hugs and kisses, Hungarian tradition. Everyone loved the look on my face ... sort of "deer in the headlights" look. They laughed.

Then, my young friend, Laco Gaal, and his mother, Illona, come in. I just couldn't believe it! Laco got a kick out of it that I was so surprised.

Brass music! I knew the sound. The Hungarian Brass were playing a beautiful song, "Great is thy Faithfulness", in the foyer of the restaurant stopping all the action in the large restaurant with everyone turned around to listen. After they finished playing they greeted me and I saw all of their families or girl friends ... I was astonished!

[I checked my pockets thinking about how much money I brought along--how am I going to pay for all the this???]

32 showed up!

Lynne had everything organized including using her personal money to pay for everyone. Bela helped her with those details. What a woman!

We had a great meal. Then, the lights go off and an upbeat version of Happy Birthday in Hungarian starts playing and our waiter brings in a huge birthday cake. It had 4 "torches" on it blazing "fireworks" into the air with two numbers, a six and a zero, that were lit candles. The young children were watching with fascination and so was I. Finally, the firework display ended with each torch sizzling out one-by-one. Remaining were the two little numbers and I made a big scene sucking in air to blow them out. Big cheer when I finished my personal wind storm.

Then, I said some things in Hungarian telling my friends how much that they mean to me and how special it was that they came. I told them how happy I am, yet, I had an unusual sadness, but, it wasn't sadness ... I had some tears as I realized just how much that they love me ... it was humbling ... a great blessing.

Great conversations that I had family-by-family as I moved around the tables during the meal and dessert. What incredible friends!

Oh yes, the cake, after my speech I took the knife and did my version of a samurai sword cutting the first slice with a gusto. The kids loved it and the adults seemed to like it as well. Probably, a couple of parents were wishing that their kids had not seen this as the parents were thinking about their kids and what they will do on their next birthdays. Oh me!

Slowly, they left as I listened to some of the kindest things that I have ever heard. It was special, so special.

Then, Bali shows up with his laptop and some speakers. Balazs Bolyki is an incredible talent ... a gifted soloist and the lead singer for the Bolyki Boys, one of Hungary's most famous groups. Bali gave me a personal concert! I kid you not. He said, "Daddy, I have come to sing for you ... three special songs."

The first two brought tears ... so meaningful. All three were wonderful.

I looked at my cell phone ... 11:32 PM! Most of my friends stayed until 10:30 or so and missed out on Bali's performance.

The Hungarian Brass playing their instruments --- Wow!
The Bolyki Boys --- how many birthday parties do the four of them attend together? Not many, I can tell you. What a treat!
Ildko and her family ... we have known Ildiko for more than 20 years and she was a special assistant to me for 15 of those years.
Laszlo Gaal Jr--the son of the co-founder of The Hungarian Brass [Laci Sr., Lynne and I started this group in 1991] ... he is a special young friend.

And, my wife of 38+ years, Lynne Murphy ... isn't she special?

Thank you, Lynne! I love you!

Yes, I am blessed!