December 10th was the day my book was supposed to come out. Way it worked in my dream was that I would have a nice stack of shiny new books, I would throw a reading party at my house on Dec.10 and we would all read it and love it and buy copies for our friends and neighbors.
As the 10th rolled around, I had no book finished, the house was a total mess, and there was no way I could afford to take a day off from work anyway.
In early November a card came in the mail inviting me to Rosemary's 60th birthday from her daughter Rachel. But it was for the 10th and that was book release day so there was no way I could go. A few weeks later she called on the phone and I was starting to realize that Dec 10th was not going to be book release day, but I still had to work. She informed me that the party was happening after work, in the evening, and that a ride could be provided and that any excuse I might come up with she would find an answer for. So, apparently I was going to Rosemary's 60th birthday celebration. Great, I hadn't seen Rosemary or any of the family other than Rachel in a LONG time.
So, after work I took a long hot shower to try to get the grime of a thousand tires off of me. I put on nice clothes for the first time in a long time. In fact, they were the only nice semi-formal clothes that I have and they were clothes that Rosemary bought me back in high school. Happy to say they hang even looser on me than they did back in highschool thanks to my newfound fitness. Then I hopped on my bike and made my way over to the big community center.
There at the community center were all of the people that I associate with Rosemary. Rosemary's family, all of Rosemary & my mom's old co-workers (who I had not seen since my mother died), a few of her husband Barry's teacher friends (including my old math teacher from high school (who taught me lots of math that I still use constantly)). It was just a great scene. A HUGE room filled with the kinds of people that would have the good sense to associate themselves with Rosemary. All of us waiting for Rosemary's grand entrance because this was a surprise party. By the size of it, it was clearly going to be a SURPRISE party. Rosemary has touched so many people, and so many of them showed up to express gratitude. (And maybe a lot of them got the same phone call from Rachel that I got)
So when Rosemary showed up it was crazy. She almost fell out from all the people that were there as it is, but then they had more of her sisters flown in from around the country and they were all brought in after her. I guess the plan was just to overwhelm her with how loved she is, and it totally worked. All kinds of people from the Rosemary family, including folks like myself who haven't been around so much lately, all under one roof. It was as hartwarming a moment as ever has there been.
They went around and asked people if they wanted to speak on the microphone about Rosemary and I begged off at first, but then I thought about it and realized this was totally my chance to say all of the things that I never communicated with my words, about how much her help meant to me when we were fighting the hospitals to get my mother the care she deserved. So, I changed my mind and asked them to let me speak, and I ended up near the bottom of the list. All kinds of people had all kinds of wonderful things to say about Rosemary. It felt great to get my chance to tell Rosemary what she has meant to me in front of all of those people, and to tell her that I love her. Being in the Rosemary family really is one of the best things that can ever happen to you.
And lots of my mom's coworkers came up to me and told me great things about my mom and about myself and how I was growing up and the like. It was really awesome.
At the end of the nights, when the dancing started breaking out... man... Rosemary has a great nephew, and... he just has to be one of the best breakdancers I have ever seen. I had figured it was over, and that Breakdancing was an ancient art by now, but apparently its a new thing again. He was like liquid energy, just all kinds of fun to watch. He kept trying to get his friend to break with him, with sporadic success. His friend seemed a bit shy to break for a huge audience. So, having no choice, I jumped on the floor and just let the music take me. I only danced for a few minutes off and on, but it was good. It felt multi-generational for a minute, even though Rose's grand nephew was kinda like "what the hell is this guy?" It was kinda fun to just pull it out of nowhere and moonwalk around the dancefloor and such.
And there was great food. Some of it, a little bit, was even food that I could eat. I thought I was gonna be relegated to the vegetable tray or something. So I got free food, dancing, a chance to express what Rosemary means to me, and to see lots of old friends.