Saturday, October 20, 2012


Howard is All Ears
What do you get when you combine three birthdays, a derelict, a mariachi band and a flash mob?  A party, 7th and Montana style, that's what.  Today marked the celebration of Howard's 70th birthday and when you combine that with the fact that he shares the same birthday as his son, Greg, and his mother, otherwise known as Supernana, well, let's just say something extraordinary was in order.  Howard's wife Cathy, daughter-in-law, Jude, and Greg cooked-up a plan so devious it belongs in the Surprise Party Hall of Fame.  It went something like this:

"I Did it My Way ...!"
Greg disguised himself as a Local Loon, complete with a black fright wig and beard, sunglasses, two dogs, a pushcart and a ukulele.  He arrived early and sat at the bus stop, blending in with the crowd.  Meanwhile, at least 30 of Howard's friends and family, including Supernana, gathered in secret around the corner.  A number of us 'regulars' arrived extra early and grabbed the "table of choice" near the bus stop.  I should add that Jude, a TV producer, distributed manuals in advance that were so detailed and professional one would think we were planning the Invasion of Normandy.  It all hinged on everything looking "normal."

Howard and Cathy arrived and took their seats, as usual ... and that's when the fun began.  Greg grunted, danced and wobbled around the bus stop, acting increasingly demented, rocking-out to tunes only he could hear.  "I hope he's listening to Jazz," said Howard, unaware it was his own son, "Maybe I should recruit him for the Vail Jazz Festival!"  One by one, Howard's friends, people who usually don't go to 'Our Favorite Starbucks,' began walking by in a series of staged "coincidences" -- the Flash Mob -- until finally the jig was up.  The full crowd swooped-in, Greg revealed his identity and everyone ripped off their jackets revealing that they were wearing "Happy Birthday Howard" Starbucks Shirts.  A mariachi band materialized out of nowhere, playing Happy Birthday.

Three Generations, Same Birthday!
When they were done, the band played the only other English song they knew, "My Way," joined by Greg who still looked every inch the LoonAs Cathy later said, the song was completely appropriate for Howard, who truly has lived his first seven decades his way.  It was, as the T-Shirts said, "The Best 6-Minute Birthday Party Ever."  Congratulations, Howard, and many happy returns to you, Greg and Supernana!


Beth said...

That is fantastic! It sounds like it was a total blast, and I bet Howard truly enjoyed it! Please wish him a very happy birthday from your Hoosier friends!

OneGreatSmile said...

What a great story!

Cruise Holidays & Vacations said...

We had a great flash mob, my first. Thank you for capturing the day via your blog.

Anonymous said...

Truely a very nice surprise, as well as a lovely story to tell.
Hope Starbucks had a cake for Howard, or one of those apple Fritters you so dealy love!

Anonymous said...

I witnessed this event and actually googled “starbucks montana santa monica mariachi band” to find if someone had posted pictures. I realize that you’re not the event organizer, but I have to tell you how absolutely gross it is that one of the attendees dressed up like a mentally ill homeless man, because somehow this makes a surprise birthday party more fun? How hilarious that pre-party, everyone got to laugh at a man acting crazy, poor, and homeless. Seriously, wtf is wrong with someone who would do that?
Anyone who lives in Santa Monica sees the sad reality of the mentally ill homeless on our streets every day. You also forgot to add that your party guy dressed as a homeless man had a fake cart, like the homeless in Santa Monica use to push around their only possessions, and all the asshole guests laughed and dropped their birthday cards into it. So awful. Shame on everyone who attended or acted like this was OK.

Ken Riches said...

Great Event, love the family feeling...