Dear Miss Lori,
I really wanted to sign C up for the felting class at the museum on Sunday. We were all ready to but then he was invited to a birthday party on the same day, at the same time. I had a meeting at 4PM and the party started at 3. Ken was working so I devised a plan whereby I would drop off C at the party and then take children numbers 2, 3, and 4 to the Mullen Hall playground where Ken, when he got off work, would meet us and exchange cars so he could pick up C after the party and drive everyone home while I went to the office.
We arrived at the bowling ally a few minutes before 3, did I mention that's where the party was? I locked children numbers 2, 3, and 4 in the car and walked C in. Surprisingly we were the first people there so I asked the man behind the shoe rental counter if there was a party for Nora. "The party's at 3:30" he said.
I hustled C back out to the car, skillfully avoiding the arcade on the way out.
After backing the car to the other side of the town hall parking lot I let C and H out so they could climb on the big anchor.
"Look at me! Look at me!" C kept yelling.
If you've seen one kid climb an iron anchor, you've seen them all. But I looked.
Then I called Ken and revised the plan. "Just meet me in the parking lot at town hall."
At 3:30 we went back in but there were still no guests and strangely, no birthday girl, just a deserted decorated room filled with a long table set with paper party plates and child-sized chairs.
The man shrugged. I positioned myself in the doorway where I could see both C, inside the bowling alley, and the locked van containing the rest of my family.
Minutes ticked by. C decided he wanted to wait back in the car. As Ken was pulling into the parking lot the man came out and approached us.
"What was that name you said?"
"Nora." I answered.
"That's not the name I have."
At this point I was about to be late for my own appointment, C may or may not be late for a birthday party that may or may not exist, I filled Ken in on the details.
"Maybe the party is at the other ally." said the bowling ally attendant. I was surprised, given his own empty party room, that he was still worried about our problems. Apparently he wasn't aware I was a mother who was developing a reputation for getting birthday parties wrong. Remember Logan's party, which I brought my son to on the wrong day? He cried right there in Logan's grandfather's living room and went away with a plastic army hat party favor. Why did I not grab the party invite on my way out the door? I am so not qualified to be a parent.
Instead I thought, We live in a town that supports two bowling allies? Incredible.
I threw Ken the keys and left in the truck.
He called 20-minutes later to say he'd struck out, metaphorically speaking, and was heading home. Another 20-minutes and he called to report that the party, now over, had taken place at Ryan Family Amusements in Buzzards Bay.
Who would have thought the party was at the bowling ally on the other side of the bride? Anyone who'd read the invitation, that's who.
And that is why, Miss Lori, that C wasn't able to be at the felting workshop.
Maybe next year.
song: Right Place Wrong Time • artist: Dr. John