Have you ever heard a knock on the door and when you open it, to your surprise, there stands a person you least expect? An old friend? A family member? A representative of ‘The Church of the Latter-Day Saint’? Okay skip that last one, that happens quite a lot around here so I’m never that surprised.
My family is spread out all across Canada. I grew up 2300km east of where I live now in the Canadian prairies, and I have grandchildren that are 1200km further west of me. If I include cousins, my family stretches more than 4000km apart from one another! If you decide to visit Uncle Jeremiah, he’s a twelve-hour detour straight north from any path! To help give everyone some perspective, if you could drive in a straight-line east from London, England, you would finally reach my 1st cousin on my mother’s side, somewhere around Astana in Kazakhstan. We live in the same country!! My family is scattered across the vastness of the country we live in. It’s a good thing we are not huggers! Getting together is not a simple ‘drive down the block and knock’ kind of thing. It takes planning and days lost to travel just to accommodate a simple visit. We find it simpler to just pick up the phone and say “Hi. How’s it goin’?”
But I come from a quirky family, so it is not uncommon for one family member to arrive unannounced as a surprise to another family member. We just show up out of the blue and knock on doors for the hell of it. I’ve done it myself!! Six times!!! I showed up unexpectedly at a restaurant on my father’s 65th birthday (pre-arranged with the help of my brother) and I once delivered flowers to my mother’s door (with the help of building security), on her 68th birthday. I lived 2500km away from them! I was the last person that they expected to see!! I have been that face that’s out of place, I have been the surprise!!!
Just recently this type of “Hi, guess who?” surprise has happened twice within my family. The first saw Uncle Jeremiah’s son driving to the ‘end of the road’ and knocking on his parent’s door. Unexpected, unannounced, he stood smiling in his parent’s doorway. For a split second there was silence as Uncle Jeremiah and Auntie Johnson processed what was happening. My 1st cousin on my mother’s side then extended his arm and held out a set of keys for the vehicle he had just driven to the ‘end of the road’ and said, “This is for you,” and gave his father the keys. Double whammy!!! An ‘out of place’ face and a car!!! There was much rejoicing in the Johnson household that week!
The second event happened just this week. When I answered the knock on the door, there stood Bull, Tattoo, Elyza and Sebastian. “Hi Grumpa,” my grand-daughter said to me in her squeaky little voice. WTF??? These people live 14 hours from here!! They are not supposed to be standing in my doorway!!! But there they were, live as could be. Surprise!!!
No, I didn’t get a new car but I did get an impromptu dinner for eleven. GenCo, Parker and the newest addition to our family Reid came over, as well as MIL and Suspended (nephew). There was laughter and the voices of children as the newest generation of cousins played together for the first time. We ate, we talked and we laughed late into the night. The next day Bultoo packed up the kids and hit the road early for their 14-hour drive home. That’s right!!! They spent more time getting here than they spent being here!! They just stopped in for dinner and a sleepover!!!
I’m sure that most of you have been on both sides of a surprise. You have surprised people and been surprised by people. Most people do it on special occasions, birthdays, anniversaries and (Insert gift-giving religious holiday of your choice here), but my people do it just because. I think my family may be pushing the limits of quirky a bit far.
Ultimately it doesn’t matter what the reason is for a surprise, because when you strip away the bling, the reward is the same for both those that give a surprise and those that receive one…
Joy at seeing your face,
happiness at being together,
and a hug.