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The Happiest Place on Earth

December 3, 2004

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It was supposed to be just a birthday dinner at Lawry's. Have Jerry fly in from Dallas, and we would meet up there to feast on prime rib, as we did in the days of yore. When we learned Sue and her kids were arriving early to go to Disneyland, we thought we'd take a day off and do the same. At Thanksgiving, we asked Mom if she wanted to join us, and she seemed interested. Then at some point during the week, to our surprise, even Dad & Jerry said they thought that sounded fun. When Dad hesitated that morning, I sent word that I would buy him lunch -- an overpriced cheeseburger, or whatever he wanted. They showed up at the castle at noon.

The park can be tricky with a large group: too many people, too many choices, too many childish emotions. But things went surrealistically smooth, a harmonious flow from one ride to the next. In mid-afternoon, we found ourselves at the animation studio in California Adventure's Hollywood land, surrounding Dad as he offered slightly embellished answers to the personality test that would liken him to Gaston, and I thought, "Hey this isn't our family... This is Steve and Calli's family!"