T-minus 3 days and counting…
I’ve had many great birthdays. I’ve mentioned before that my family is responsible for some the best birthday plans to date. One year my wife surprised me with a cruise announced on twitter. Another year we went to Vegas to see a few shows and shop. Almost every year involves a dinner with my closest family and friends. But probably the one birthday that stands out above the rest was my 11th.
A little background leading up to the big day. About a year or two earlier I learned my uncle was a clown magician. Until then, I’d only know magic by what I saw on TV. It was something I could watch, but never thought I’d be able to touch, if you know what I mean. When I found out that someone I knew could do magic, it became real. I simple revelation led me to my first visit to the local magic store and my first magic kit.
I loved it, learning tricks, keeping secrets, pestering my family with shows. I couldn’t get enough. I was fortunate enough that my parents supported me enough to spend quite a bit of money on props and tricks considering I was around 10 years old. At one point they even hired a tutor, Magic Bob.
(stop snickering, I can hear you!)
Anyway, like I said, my family was a big support. I had no idea how much I no doubt embarrassed them because if I did, they kept it well hidden behind faces of wonder and shock (How did you do that? That was amazing!)
On to the memory. One night we drove the motor home to church. This should have struck me as unusual, but I was 10, I didn’t pay attention like I should have. I remember when service was over we were all gathered around for the benediction and the pastor prays for our safe travel on the highway. Again, another red flag that I missed completely. We traveled all the time, that wasn’t too unusual. I found out my mom was mad at the pastor because she thought he might have ruined the surprise. He didn’t, I was still clueless.
We’re finally on the way home and any other sunday I would have fallen asleep in the car. Tonight I was determined to stay awake because it seemed that just as the sleep was getting good, I had to wake up to get in the house. Not tonight! I’m staying awake!
Well we drove, and we drove and we drove some more. I didn’t know were we were but I knew we should have been home by now. I’m sitting in my favorite spot in the motor home, the bunk above the driver’s seat. I’m looking out the window and nothing seems remotely familiar, but it’s dark. Finally when I couldn’t take it any longer I asked: “where are we going?”
My mom gives me an exasperated look, the turns to look at my dad, then finally back at me.
“We were hoping you would fall asleep because we wanted to surprise you,” she says. “We’re on the way to Las Vegas. We got you tickets to see Siegfried and Roy.”
I can distinctly remember a few things going through my mind. 1: I don’t have to go to school tomorrow, yes! 2: I’m going to Las Vegas, Vegas Baby! 3:I’m going to see Siegfried and Roy, two of the greatest magicians of all time! This is crazy!!! CRAZY AWESOME!!!
So yeah, it was taking so long to get home because we weren’t going home. We were actually on the way to pick up my other brother and sisters, and all seven of us were going to spend a few days in Vegas and see a frickin awesome magic show. BEST BIRTHDAY EEVVAAARRR!!!!
And it was. We walked all over Vegas. Watched the Volcano Explode at Treasure Island. Went to see the Lion Habitat at the MGM Grand. Rode roller coasters at the Circus Circus Hotel. And of course got dressed up real fancy to see Siegfried and Roy. My mom sprung for great seats too, down near the front. I was in little kid magic heaven because every other hotel had a Houdini’s magic shop with magicians peddling the latest tricks including: the helicopter card trick.
You couldn’t tell me at that point in my life that I wasn’t going to be the greatest kid magician of all time.
Man, thinking back on it all, that really was a great birthday.