Arnold and Johnnie Scoggins' 50th Anniversary Celebration
Uncle Doug answers the question, "Who's boss o' this cattle call?"
The top story coming out of Arnold and Johnnie Scoggins' 50th Anniversary Celebration was how big a surprise "The Big Surprise" actually was. As a guy who was never a good enough liar to pull off a practical joke, I was not optimistic that Mom and Dad wouldn't figure out what we had planned. They didn't have a clue. We don't have a picture of Dad standing in the parking lot, pointing, dumbstruck, at Eugene and Marie "Johnnie's Sister" LaValle as they pulled up, but I did see it from the lobby window. Like a well trained 'coon dog, Dad held point for several seconds, motionless. More than enough time for me to draw on bead on Eugene with my .22 and shoot him. Just kidding. Here are Dad and Eugene, both alive and well, at breakfast the next morning.
Before the weekend was over, just about every relative in the five-state area who wasn't infirmed or incarcerated (or didn't have anything better to do) made the pilgrimage. We had only actually made contact with the aunts and uncles, but word got out. Here is the list of everyone who was there.
We gathered at the Heritage Inns, a heavily guarded bed and breakfast compound in Denton, Texas. You might think it would be hard to find quaintness and charm in North Texas. You would right. North Texas is a wasteland. We needed someplace that was central to Austin, where Jennifer and I live, and Oklahoma, where most of the relatives are. Kudos to Jennifer for finding this place. It was perfect.
Or pretty close to perfect. There was the issue of breakfast on Sunday. The innkeepers want to delay breakfast until 10:30 so they could engage in some strange ritual they called "church." And there were those disturbing pictures on the walls:
But in the end, the innkeepers were accommodating, and no one in our party was turned into a newt.
And Denton itself had a few surprises. Would you believe a new age, pseudo-Buddhist temple/clinic thing:
This was just a couple of blocks from the inn.
Does that not say, "Fine Farts"?
The main event was putting Mom and Dad on the spot by making them play our homemade version of The Newlywed Game. We cornered them separately and quizzed them on their history and preferences, then brought them together to see if their answers matched. They seemed to enjoy it, mostly.
Here is the complete list of questions and answers.
The real plan for the weekend was just to get the family together to acknowledge a milestone, Arnold and Johnnie's 50 years of marriage. That worked like a charm:
Dinner at Giuseppe's, right next door:
We had moved dinner from 6:30 to 5:00 to accommodate the OU football game that started at 6:00. By 6:01, you could tell who did not graduate from OU:
All weekend, we just enjoyed each others company:
And when all was said and done, we posed:
published by Tim Scoggins, 20 October 2003