It started with a wooden box.
Tori gave it to me over two months ago with the challenge of "figuring out" what it meant. Of course, I over-thought the whole thing and tried to see it from every angle. It was light-weight, solid on all sides, brown in color, smooth with a pale grain, possibly floatable? Truth is, it was just a box that Tori wrote a love note on for me, and it meant whatever I wanted it to mean.
All of the youth girls who were in on the joke got a kick out of watching me struggle to figure it out. No, seriously, they laughed at my straining. Dang kids. I eventually forgave Tori for making me sweat and thanked her for loving me.
The box incident was followed by a request from Tori and Sammie to surprise us with something before we moved away. We set a date and time. When the day finally came, it was revealed that the plan had gone from a big surprise going away party in the park with all of the youth kids (blindfolds, party tents, food, the whole shebang!) to dinner at the Bier Haus with our two young friends.
It was an "it's the thought that counts" moment. They told us all about the lavish Plan A that turned in to a far more scaled down Plan B. The fact that they wanted to do that (anything) for us, and that they followed through on our planned kidnapping.. well.. it meant a lot to us. Thankfully, sans blindfolds.
And this restaurant is no slouch! The Bier Haus is a Euro-American Bistro in Strongsville with an unassuming outside and casual fine dining inside. Between the four of us we savored meaty cheeseburgers, garlic rosemary fries, schnitzel, grilled asparagus with aioli, smoked potato pancakes, and warm pretzel breadsticks. Everything was plated thoughtfully and paired with a flavorful drizzle or dipping sauce.
The girls took the bills and treated us with their own money, they did all the driving, and kept us entertained with stories and conversation. When I first met them, they were timid and unsure about things, but not today. They have both grown in to strong, interesting young ladies. They graduated high school this year and have bright futures ahead of them, though probably not in party planning.
P.S. The meaning I assigned to the wooden box is this: "Tori's love for me is solid." She approves.