Most of us who are readers like the element of surprise in stories because a surprise catches us off guard and produces drama. One of my writing books suggests that we should put several surprises in our books.
According the dictionary, a surprise isn’t necessarily something pleasant, but I’m thinking of the way it’s used in the sentence, “I have a surprise for you, and you’re going to love it!” Do you know of a single word that captures the nuance of a “wonderful surprise”?
My father, Glen Grosenbach, who served in the United States Navy while I was growing up, alternated periods of time aboard ship and in port. While he was on sea duty, he came home on leave at regular intervals. But the months he was gone seemed endless. The thing was, he liked to surprise us. In a good way of course.
One day while he my dad was away, my mother, my younger brother, and I went to Grandma Myers’ house or to church – I can’t remember which. After a couple of hours, we went back home, walked in the front door, and there was my dad, sprawled face down on the bed, fast asleep. My mom’s exclamations and tears of joy, as well as the hugs all round were exciting to Blake and me.
Usually, my dad let my mom know by letter when he was coming home from sea. But when I was seven or eight, he called on a phone patch via ham radio and gave my mom the details. If I remember right, we were living in Long Beach, California, at the time. When the big day arrived, my mom herded us kids – baby Marla, Doug, Blake, and me – into the car and drove us to the pier, where we tried to spot him among hundreds of sailors, all dressed in uniform, waving from deck of the ship. Talk about exciting. . .
I can’t remember all the times he surprised us. The year that I was a senior at Caldwell High School, in Caldwell, Idaho, he was stationed on a ship in dry dock in Mobile, Alabama.
When I got home on the last day of classes, the swinging door from the kitchen opened, and out stepped my father. What a gift! I really appreciated the surprise, Dad, as did all of the family. Thanks again for coming home for my graduation. (I’m sure my siblings have similar stories to tell.)
May God bless you, Dad, and all my readers who are fathers, on this coming Father’s Day!
Posted on June 14, 2016