There are only a few times in my life that I have really, truly been surprised. I would always put on an Academy Award performance and ACT surprised — never let on that they hadn’t fooled me. It made me feel better to let them think what a coup they had pulled. There was one time I recall: It was my 50th birthday in April 1968 – and there were half a dozen or so parties over several weeks, and how could they possibly figure that their party would be the one to surprise me? No way, José.
Thursday was golf day at my Ladies Golf Club at San Juan Hills. It was close to my birthday, so the ladies had a little celebration to honor my 50th. They couldn’t very well do that as a surprise, and then the next day I was getting ready to go to work for the evening at my México Lindo restaurant in San Juan Capistrano when I got a frantic call at 5 o’clock from Ellie, the head waitress, telling me I had to get down there pronto because the bartender had just cut his hand badly while slicing up the lemons. Well, SHE was the one putting on the Oscar-winning performance because I fell for it hook, line, and sinker; told her I had to dress, and would be there in a few….. I hurried, which is already unusual for me, jumped into my little Jaguar roadster and roared down that Coast Hwy. from Laguna Beach to San Juan Capistrano. Made it in about 10 minutes — well, in those days there was not all that traffic to contend with, and I guess the CHP was taking a dinner break.
Ran into the bar, and all these people — the employees and some customers — yelling “SURPRISE,” Al did not have a sliced up hand, and the place was all decked out with streamers, and signs, etc. But then, I got a little bent out of shape about the ruse they thought up to get me there — however, after a nice Margarita that someone had shoved in my hand, I simmered down, and all went well the rest of the evening.
Now picture this: 44 years later, and in all those years, no one could slip in a surprise party on me. On my 85th, they just didn’t bother trying, and they gave me the job of making the invitations on my computer. Oh, almost forgot, there WAS a surprise at that party while it was in full swing. A group of MARIACHIS came strolling in with the trumpet blaring, and they were singing “Las Mañanitas” (Happy Birthday in Español.) The Warden had pulled that one off. That WAS a surprise.
So that was one time in all those years, but now I have to relate the event which took place on Tuesday, December 11, 2012. The scene was played out on the outdoor porch of the Escena Golf Club’s restaurant where 100 women had just finished a game of tournament golf and were having lunch. It was the Desert League of Women Golfers monthly Play Day. Desert League is an association of 18 golf clubs, of which 11 are located in our Valley, and the others are on the other side of the mountain from Banning to San Bernardino.
Those golfers want to get the luncheon part over with and get on with the distribution of prizes, and then hit the road for home. So the Tournament lady, Santina, and her helpers thrilled the winners, and you would think everything was over — but NO! there came this very loud voice — belonging to Vickie, the President saying: “MELITAS FORSTER, YOU STAND UP, AND YOU COME UP HERE RIGHT NOW.” Well, the Voice got me right up, and I had to sit down in this HUGE chair. Then she started in saying all these things about me. Nice things. How I had done this and that for the club — all along, I was doing it because I enjoyed it. And now I was giving up my duty as Newsletter Editor and passing the job to Diane from Cathedral Canyon CC. (She can make that computer go a heckuva lot better than I do — being much younger, her fingers just fly over the keyboard.)
Then there was all this chaos around me. First came a crown plunked on my head, then a red feather boa around my shoulders, and finally I was handed a beautiful scepter to lord it over my empire and all my subjects. I could use the scepter to tap them on the shoulder and tell them they were now Lady So-and-so, or I could tap them on the head and give them a headache.
Following the placement of the fun stuff on me, Secretary Gerri read this PROCLAMATION with a bunch of “whereas’s” thanking me, commending me, laying it on thick, and finally granting me a Lifetime membership in Desert League. Beeg deel, I’m 4 months away from 95.
And then the 11th of December 2012 (they could’ve made that for a few more years) was declared to be MELITAS FORSTER DAY in all the CoachellaValley, AND the entire State of California. I don’t think they told the Governor about this because he would be furious since I am a Republican.
This Proclamation was signed by the Board Members: Pres. Vickie, Vice-Pres. Georgia, Secy. Gerri, Treas. Mary, Tourn. Dir. Santina, and (I really do thank each and every one, and they managed to give me a second surprise in 44 years.)
I then asked for the microphone, and I heard a big groan from the direction of Santina. She knows how it goes when I get in front of a mike, and she’s saying we’ll be here till midnight celebrating HER DAY. I can go on for hours until everyone dozes off. I can still keep going because while they doze, there is no applause breaking it up, and I can get in more to say. I said a few kind words, then the mike went dead. Escena personnel must’ve heard about my lengthy speeches, and figured they should start saving on the electricity bill so the plug was pulled right out from under me. Oh, well, I still had MY DAY.
Now I want to tell you about my queenly boa. It’s a beautiful color of red, and that’s where I have to stop. Those feathers were falling off all over the place, sailing around on the breeze, some ended up in the pool near the outdoor dining area where we were. I had feathers all over me. Let’s face it — Santina had picked out the very cheapest boa in all of the 99 Cent Store. She told me there was a royal cape the store had for 15 clams, but she just couldn’t see spending THAT kind of money. My car is still full of feathers, and every once in awhile I find one trying to hide in the house.
MY DAY was great, and you know what? — I am going to celebrate it again next year even though they did not put that in the Proclamation. In fact, every year on December 11th from here on out will be MY DAY. Like it or lump it.
MELITAS FORSTER MONDAYS WITH MELITAS