Keeping a secret from one’s husband for over seven months is no easy task! I can’t tell you how many times I nearly blew it!
My husband, Bruce turned fifty this past June. Yep, he finally made it! Last fall I was kidding him about hitting the big 5-0 next spring when I decided I wanted to do it up BIG! I knew he would object, so I decided to leave him out of it all together. And, so the planning, scheming and secret communications began.
I wanted to plan a family and friend reunion in Bruce’s honor, but where? A few days later, I was talking to Brad Foreman who serves on the Big Brothers Big Sisters Board with me. He told me about the lodging he owns out in Silverthorne, Colorado. I went on-line and checked it out (www.summitpeakslodge.com). This would be perfect! We booked the lodge Riverside East, that features 7 bedrooms + den and sleeps 30+ people! That should do it, I thought. Then the secret phone calls and emails began – inviting relatives and friends. Some “signed on” immediately and others had to wait and see what they could arrange. We honestly didn’t know who would all be there right up until about a week before!
I finally told him to make sure he “cleared his calendar” the week of June 7 – 14th. “Huh?”, he asked. Just do what I’m telling you and don’t ask any questions. He just smiled. He knew something was up, but had no idea. The morning of the flight we walked up to the ticket counter at the airport and the attendant said, “oh, traveling to Denver, eh?” Bruce turned and looked at me saying, “Denver”? The attendant looked a little surprised that he had no idea where we were going so I explained it was a surprise, up until now.
We arrived at our gate and to Bruce’s amazement, there was my step-mom, Jane sitting there reading a book. He actually walked right by her the first time. “What the heck are you doing here”? he asked. Jane explained that she was flying out to Wyoming to see her brother and had to make a connection in Denver to get to Casper. He bought it, hook, line and sinker. Jane was really flying into Denver, waiting for an hour to hook up with my brother who was coming in right behind her. Both were in on the surprise.
In the meantime, Bruce’s childhood friend and one of his best buddies was driving out with his family from Wisconsin. Bruce’s younger brother was driving in from the Kansas City area and his other brother was planning to join us mid-week. The ones who drove were already waiting for us at the house in Silverthorne. We were texting each other on the way there. I was able to ‘warn them” that we were about 15 min. away. They all hid.
We had received our security code to unlock the doors, so when we got there we went right in. We saw a laptop on the dining room table and a bowl of peanuts on the breakfast bar. Bruce turned to me and said” I don’t think the other people who had this place before us have checked out yet!”. I told him I thought he might be right, so we slowly walked down the hallway calling, “hellooo, anybody here?”. All of a sudden all the friends and family jumped out of the den yelling surprise! I thought he was going to pass out! He was in shock! Everybody hugged him, slapped his back and we were all laughing at how we managed to pull one over on him! About an hour later, after we all got settled down, the doorbell rang and we told Bruce to get it. There was my step-mom and younger brother from Wisconsin! More hugs and laughing. Bruce came to me and gave me a big hug and kiss. Wow, he said. You really worked hard on this, I’m amazed.
From that point on it was all fun. What a blast! Silverthorne was the perfect location for us. Just off I-70 about an hour west of Denver. The villages of Dillion, Silverthorne and Frisco are right next to Breckenridge. They have a bus system that runs between them, so getting around was so easy. The transportation center was a short three block walk from our lodge. The lodge was across the street from one of the best fitness facilities we’ve ever been in and because we were guests at the lodge we got day pass discounts. Silverthorne and Dillon also have a large outlet shopping center that is basically spread throughout the two villages. Very unique. Lake Dillon is right there too, with bike trails all around it and on up to Frisco.
We did everything! Took a train to a silver mine; walked the main streets of Frisco, Breckenridge, Leadville and Vail. Went to an independent film festival in Breckenridge. Eleven of us went on a whitewater raft trip out of Glenwood Springs. It was June and the snow was barely melted. It was 81 degrees out that day, but the water was 42 degrees. We all had wetsuits on and were glad we did! We went on a breakfast trail ride up near Leadville. After the ride, the cooks fixed a great outdoor breakfast for us. I hadn’t been on a horse in 30 years! What fun! The next day went to the annual BBQ cook off in Frisco.
We had so much fun and the mix of people we had was just perfect. Everyone pitched in with meals, cleaning and planning day trips. It went so smoothly that we are already looking into traveling again next year with the same group. We like the Silverthorne area so well, we just might be back there and do different trips during the day. I can only imagine what fun it must be in the winter too! The ski resorts are so close!
Beth Clark Iowa 2009