I have a dear neighbor and friend, Roxana Gillett, who has been very kind to me. Accordingly, I phoned and asked her what she was going to do for her 70th birthday. “We don’t do birthdays,” she stated flatly.
Surprised, I responded, “Well, I do. And I’m going to take you to Le Rendezvous French restaurant for lunch.” Seemingly pleased, she accepted the invitation. However, inviting her to lunch was merely a ruse. I wanted to take her away from her house so that my cronies could plant 12 plastic pink flamingos in her front yard.
I had seen pink flamingos landing elsewhere in the neighborhood and thought it was so delightfully incongruous to see them planted next to cacti and other desert landscape.
Usually flamingo garden infestations occur as the result of a fund raising scheme by a church or a high school sports team. Unfortunately when I called around, I discovered that currently no one was doing this.
However, while purchasing some garden supplies at a big box store, I noticed a container of plastic pink flamingos on sale, so months ago I bought a dozen and stashed them in my closet. Since then, I have had so much fun figuring out how to pull off the prank.
At the appointed hour on Roxana’s birthday, I drove her to the restaurant while at the same time, friends and neighbors took over the task of planting the flamingos. Even before I arrived at our destination, I received a text: Mission Accomplished!
Our lunch was delightful, especially the Cream of Mushroom soup, and later, when we pulled up in front of Roxana’s house, she seemed disoriented – and who wouldn’t be, seeing a dozen pink flamingos standing in her front yard?
Additionally, my friend, Mariah, made this sign that hung from the neck of a flamingo:
Complicit neighbors, Don and Ila McCoy, welcomed Roxana with pink bubbly served in purple glasses along with strawberry pink cupcakes that created an instant birthday party.
So now, when the party is over, what does one do with a dozen pink flamingos?
Roxana transplanted them to my back yard, and every morning when I glance out in the backyard, their new presence gives me a good laugh. By the way, if anyone would like to borrow them for a special occasion, let me know.
Norine Dresser is a folklorist who loves planning birthday surprises for friends and relatives.