It should have been easy – an outdoor swimming party at a community swimming pool and pavilion. The menu was to be Rebecca’s favorite foods – nothing fancy or complex – grilled hotdogs, hamburgers, lots of fruit and baby carrots with various dips, potato chips of three varieties, and kettle corn. We were washing it down with real homemade lemonade.
The piece de resistance was to be Rachel’s decadent chocolate cake with cream cheese icing, beautifully decorated with piped-on spring flowers. I refused to carry the cakes, as I’m such a klutz. I would have beaten myself if I destroyed Rachel’s many hours of effort.
Rachel and the grandgirls had done all the shopping and prep work. I was recruited to make sure that all of the ingredients and the birthday girl got the pavilion set up in time, since Rachel had to be at post-planning in the school where she teaches third grade, and it was a regular work day for Larry.
We loaded the van from ceiling to running boards. Rebecca and her buddy Caitlin had party stuff under their feet and in their laps, but we got everything in – even the cake, which Rebecca was brave enough ( and strong enough, as it weighed about twenty pounds) to carry. Oh, how proud we were to arrive at the park with almost two hours leeway for a leisurely set-up.
The first thing Rebecca noticed was that the pool wasn’t open. Being a Pollyanna, I commented that they probably just hadn’t opened yet because her party was still two hours away. We parked and began set-up as I pondered on the predicament. I remembered that I had seen a reservations phone number on the pool fence, so we placed a call. We got an automated answer reassuring us that we would be helped as soon as the message was relayed, but without specifying how long that could take.
I spied a guy cutting grass who went into the pool enclosure to perform some task. I sent the girls to ask him about the pool problem while I continued to take stuff out of the van. Next thing I knew, Rebecca came flying through on the verge of tears. “There’s no sense setting up. The pool isn’t open today,” she said as she ran off with her phone.
As soon as Rachel got free from work, she called me for our status. I assumed that the first call Rebecca made would have been to her mother, but Rachel obviously didn’t know that anything was amiss. It fell to me to tell her that all her hard work to plan the perfect party was imploding. A swimming party without a pool didn’t seem too appealing. Fifty people had said they were coming, so Rachel and I agreed that the show had to go on. With a catch in my throat and tears in my eyes, I continued putting what was left of the party together.
I was down to the last bag of ice coming out of the van when Rachel called back. “Pack up. We’re moving the party to another pool,” she declared.
The girls wandered over with mobile phones in hand. It was their job to text the new location to all fifty party people. With their thumbs flying, they texted the news in no time. Rachel and Sarah arrived to help with the reloading. (This time, Rachel had custody of the cake.)
What a wonderful time we proceeded to have, with swimming, dancing, volleyball, badminton, Jai Lai, and even a bit of soccer as the sun set over what turned out to be a perfect party.