Surprise #045; the King is alive!

Published 12:00 am Thursday, February 3, 2005

Five years ago, when my mother turned 75, we decided to give her a surprise party, just as we had done for Daddy five years before.

I was absolutely certain my dad – a man who could talk the hind and front legs off any donkey, mule or other four-legged critter – would spill the beans before the date of the party arrived.

Amazingly, he didn’t. He was just so tickled we were &uot;gonna pull a good one&uot; on Mama like we’d done on him.

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Having had such a good time with those parties (and realizing we never know what another year will bring), we girls decided to throw Mama a gala event for number eight-zero.

Only this time, it wouldn’t be a surprise.

Mama does have an irregular heartbeat, after all, and the thought of my sister and niece – the nurses of the family – having to perform CPR on Ova prostrate by the punch bowl just wasn’t appealing.

So I handed out flyers, ran announcements in the newspapers and church bulletin and sent out e-mails.

There was one thing I failed to mention, however – the specific nature of the &uot;musical entertainment.&uot;

A few minutes after her party got underway on Sunday, I told her, &uot;Mama, come and sit over here in your chair – the special entertainment is about to get underway&uot;.

Mama complied – and gosh, she did look awfully cute sitting there in her double heart &uot;diamond&uot; tiara and pink feather boa, our queen for the day – patiently waiting as the music began to swell.

&uot;What’s going on?&uot; I teased her as she sat there in quiet anticipation of what we had planned. She shrugged, wide-eyed and smiling.

And then he arrived. Yes, ladies and gentlemen, Elvis had entered the building, complete with white and purple jumpsuit, purple scarf and shades. Was Mama surprised?

Oh, you betcha. Our birthday queen lit up like a Christmas tree as the velvet-voiced Bill J. Brooks, a.k.a. Elvis, the King, serenaded her that afternoon.

Talk about wonderful photo ops – my Minolta was clicking away like crazy last Sunday.

Later, Bill gave Mama her very own 8 x10 color glossy of him in his Elvis guise. Mama clutched it tight. &uot;Oh, I want to get him to sign it for me,&uot; she said.

Of course, Bill did just that. Mama grinned from ear to ear and wouldn’t let that photo out of her hands there for a while. &uot;Where can I put these where it will be safe?&uot; she asked me.

&uot;Let me put it on your special picture and gift table and I’m sure it will be fine,&uot; I assured her.

After packing up and cleaning up, we all headed home, very tired but happy.

After changing out of my party outfit, I drove down to Mama’s farmhouse to return the personal photographs and other items borrowed for the birthday bash.

She was looking over her gifts, when she suddenly cried, &uot;Oh, where is my picture?&uot;

&uot;Safe and sound on the buffet in the dining room, Mama,&uot; we told her.

She smiled.

Elvis lived again in Honoraville last weekend – and he made one very special 80-year-old lady very, very happy. Thank you, Bill – thank you verra, verra much.

Angie Long is the lifestyles reporter for the Greenville Advocate and can be reached at 383-9302, ext. 132 or via email at