Knock, Knock. Who’s There?
Surprise visits may be a cute idea, but I’m not so sure that it is so cute to pull a surprise like this on Dawn’s 95 year old Mother.
I’m not concerned that the shock might be dangerous to her. No, I’m more worried that just being on the other side of the door when she answers our knock might unleash a side of her we’ve not seen before – at least linguistically. I know that if you pulled something like that on me the surprise might trigger a chain of words usually heard aboard naval vessels during combat. I don’t want to hear that coming from my mother-in-law. As long as I’ve known her I have never seen her lose her cool. She always seems to have it together in her faith in God. I’d hate to see that tested to the point where she might give Jesus a Middle Initial.
I don’t like surprises – Surprise Parties, Surprise Announcements, Surprise Visits.
If you want to give me a Birthday Party – Wonderful! But give me a couple of weeks notice so I can brace myself – and so I can learn who is going to be there. Some people I may not want to have access to flaming candles or knives. I’ve known too many people who are on the streets strictly due to “Reasonable Doubt.”
If you have an earth-shaking announcement to make i.e. “Billy and I are going to be married as soon as he is released,” just send me a postcard or something. Don’t spring it on me over dinner when I’m likely to launch a spit-take with a mouthful of peas. Such announcements should not be followed by the Heimlich maneuver.
In my mind I equate surprise visits with memories of phrases like, “You gotta hide me, John,” and “If anybody asks, you haven’t seen me. Can I borrow your axe?”
It’s moments like that which have made me wary of “Surprises.” That may be why I’m not all that fond of Halloween with hordes of people wearing masks knocking on our door.
Shortly we will be winging our way to Texas to “Surprise” everyone. I’m consoled by the fact that I’ve never seen any of the family carrying a gun, but it wouldn’t shock me. See, it wouldn’t surprise me if they were strapped. I could deal with that. I’m just not sure of their level of tolerance and recoil to surprises. It’s that uncertainty that is the chicken soup of life. It keeps us alert and able to make that most primal of decisions: Fight or Flight. We are taking a flight to Texas. I hope that it doesn’t end up in a fight.
We are going to surprise them all – that’s for sure.
I know that it might not help, but it couldn’t hurt if, before we knock on that door, I yell out in my best St. Mary’s Catholic Grade School Latin –
“Genus sumus, non producunt” – “We’re family, don’t shoot.”