So I haven’t blogged for a long time. Because birthdays. Most specifically, this year was my husband’s 50th birthday, which he had been anticipating for some time. We had a special party, and I thought I would share some pictures of the big event.
We had a great turnout–about 100 people–and even the staff at Deadbeat Pete’s said it was the best party they had ever attended!
Instead of using a traditional guest book, I created a questionnaire for the guests to fill out and enlisted the help of DJ John Rutherford (who was amazing) to make sure everyone remembered. I’m going to gather them up into a binder along with all the cards John received. I know he will enjoy reading them over again and again.
I also created a hashtag for the event and printed up cards to put on all the tables. This was not as successful as I don’t think a lot of people who came are as active on social media as I am. :-) However, a many people did upload their pictures to the Facebook Event page!
I used Canva to create both of those, as well as the invitation, which we disseminated with a Facebook Event page, an Evite, and even by hand. :-)
To make sure that people didn’t forget our upcoming event, I posted several pictures each day of John from birth up to the present, which he said made him feel very loved! The one below might be my favorite:
John said this one of him and Emily (who shares his birthday and turned 25 this year) was his:
Besides food and drink and cake and dancing, of course a milestone birthday demands toasts. To finish this post, I want to share with you what I said about John. It was a pleasure and an honor to get to stand up in front of everyone to sing his praises.
First of all, I would like to thank everyone on John’s behalf for coming to help him celebrate tonight. It means a lot to him that so many people turned up for this milestone.
John was 19 when I met him—he was delivering mail at our dorm, and my roommate, who was in the same French class, introduced us. For an entire year, we called him John Paul, because that was what he was going by in French class and we thought it was his real name! I wrote about meeting him in my diary, saying that he was “a very funny guy.”
John didn’t wear suits every day back then, but he was certainly more dressed up than almost everyone else, and we formed the opinion that he came from a well-to-do family. We never would have guessed that his father had been a steel-mill worker and that his mother was a waitress, and that he was the first person in his family to attend college.
As we got to know John, he shared with us that his father had died when he was 18. By the time he spoke of this, it had been about two years since it happened, which seemed like a long time back then. But of course it wasn’t very long at all, and he was still reeling from the effects of that loss. His dad was 49, and that’s why reaching this 50th birthday has always been a big deal to John.
Anyone who knows John can tell he is a natural leader. He has held numerous leadership positions starting in high school. When I met him, his plan for his life included joining the Foreign Service, living a bachelor lifestyle until the age of 30 or so, running for political office, and never having any kids!
Like most of us, John’s life took a different path from the one he envisioned back then. Instead of being in the public eye, his choices have led him to be instead an unsung hero, someone whose life is centered around faith, family, and making the world a better place. The kind of hero who uses his many talents to help the less fortunate, whose job representing indigent parents and neglected children is more vocation than career, who always puts his family ahead of his work, who worries more about helping his clients than getting them to pay their legal fees.
John is generous to a fault. Everyone in this room knows that they can count on John to do anything asked of him, even when it’s personally inconvenient. He is the kind of friend that anyone would like to have.
Today it’s time for us to sing songs about the unsung hero, or at least to toast him. So let’s raise our glasses and I will finish this with an Irish Toast: “I have known many, and liked not a few, but loved only one and this toast is to you.”