The Power Of Community – Calling in Favors

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Finally, my life has settled back down. The last few months, I’ve been walking on eggshells, trying to keep track of the lies I’ve been telling my wife… not fishing lies (those NEVER stop), but ones about where I’ve been, and why I’m acting suspicious…

I’d been planning a surprise party for her 40th 29++th birthday, and had been sneaking around behind her back to try to orchestrate the whole shindig.

What does this have to do with community? There was no way I could have pulled it off financially or physically doing everything myself, if I didn’t call in favors. Let me elaborate.

I made a call to a wine distributor that I knew, not from being his BEST customer, but from our children playing softball together. We struck up a friendship, and have always taken time to speak with each other when our paths crossed.

I try to do this with everyone. First, its just good manners. Second, you never know when a phone call from the proper person can open doors to you that wouldn’t have opened otherwise.

I called my wine distributor friend to get some idea as to how much beer to get for the party. After a few simple questions, he pointed me to a local package store, and said a keg was the proper amount, based on my answers. When he named the store, I recognized it, so name-dropped, “You mean Jimmy?”

“You know Jimmy?” I did, he owns several businesses, and I’ve had the opportunity to help him out several times with problems he had. The solutions were simple, at least to me, so I opted to not charge him, in hoes of drumming up future business. I call these “Karma payments”, and they rarely fail to pay off somehow. How you treat people is how they will treat you.

This one came back with interest.

After mentioning that I knew Jimmy and had done work for him, my distributor friend said “Let me make a call”. Ten minutes later, I was told that Jimmy had everything I needed, would pre-chill the keg, deliver it, and not charge a rental for a kegerator or the tap. And the beer was to be at his cost.

SWEET! Just from helping out one fellow human being, and developing a friendship with another.

Food was provided by two sources, SB, my rabbit smoking friend and perpetual instigator,who hickory smoked three pork butts, then shredded them for pulled  pork sandwiches. What fantastic feast that was for me! I wold almost go through the stress of throwing a party again, just for that pulled pork.

(For the record, BlueTang offered to do the same, but was unable to attend the party, due toe planning to attend….a BBQ competition class! I expect to be sampling some of his higher education soon! Both of these guys KNOW barbecue, and with BT looking into competition barbecue, and SB toying with the idea of a food truck, I am a mighty happy man.)

The other food was six feet of catered subs from Shakra’s Deli, a local establishment that the wife has loved since she was a kid. Shakra’s is run by a married couple that my wife and I consider friends, Jeff and Ana. The Shakra family have been providing some top-notch subs and other deli items since 1972. A locally owned and operated dining place that has been in business this long has GOT to be doing something right…

When we were expecting our first child, we lived across the street, and our daughter came out looking a little like a Shakra’s sub, my wife had eaten some many of them for the previous 9 months.

The ironic part was when Jeff called me to say my food was all ready.. and to save me time, it was sitting in the coolers next to my keg at Jimmy’s store to be delivered with the beer! It s a small world, and word travels fast!

An 8 foot banner was provided from Larry,  customer I’d done some work for, who happens to own A Copy & Signs. Larry was very happy with the results of my efforts, it seems. Treat people right, it comes back to you. He offered, so I accepted.

The location was provided by the local Parks and Rec department. They have a several acceptable locations, but what caught my eye was large community center in the town we live in. With a phone call, I was able to arrange a tour.  Since I was a long time supporter of the local park, the director personally walked me through the process, and suggested options that saved me money every step of the way. Like most organizations, its’ the workers in the field that make an organization work well.

And finally, the labor force was comprised of my sister in law, her daughter, and a handful of other folks that wanted to know, “When and where do we go so we can help set this up?” The people came out of the woodwork to help.

Most of the assistance provided was simple labor, but my sister in law was also a great sounding board for small details I forgot, like a cake. Less than 48 hours from the party and no cake. Great!

When she asked me about the cake, I said, let me get back to you, and I ran over to a local eatery know for the excellent baked goods. Mary’s Gourmet Kitchen has been in Jensen for a couple decades, long enough to have made our wedding cake (fantastic!). Mary is also personally know by me, I was hoping well enough to pull off my last minute request.

“Mary, I’m in a bind, I need a cake for my wife’s 40th surprise birthday party. Saturday.”

“What? Fine, how many tiers?” You could hear the consternation in her voice…

“Just a sheet cake is fine, whatever is easiest for you…and make it say ‘Happy 40th’, with the 40 crossed out and ’29 plus a few’ underneath.”

“For you… OK.”

Do you know the cake was so damned good that I ate 5 pieces? So not Paleo! But it was GOOD!

Banner LizEveryone raved about the cake. And the pulled pork. And the sub disappeared. And everyone had a great time. And the wife was SO surprised.


And to see her smile was worth all the heartache,stress, loss of sleep, headaches, and grief I’ve suffered trying to pull it off…



But I’d never had been able to pull it off without the help of My Community.

So, thanks go out to:

Jimmy at Jensen Beach Convenience (772) 419-8730

Jeff and Ana at Shakra’s Deli (772) 334-3641

Mary at Mary’s Gourmet Kitchen  (772) 934-6107

Larry at A Copy & Signs (772) 335-1664

Lauren at Martin County Parks and Rec  (772) 334-1954

And to Jeni and Melissa, all I can say is Thank You!

And here is the culmination of months of lies and deceit, all for the love of my girl:



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PS- The night after the party was the first decent light’s sleep I’d had in months…


  1. And all everyone complains about these days is how communities are un-neighborly and everyone is stuck in their own tech bubble. I think they just don’t try hard enough. Great story and Happy Birthday!!!

  2. Impressive!! I believe Liz knows how lucky she is to have such an awesome fella. Congrats on the success of the bday party and a big ol Happy Bday to Liz from wv :)

  3. HAPPY BIRTHDAY MISS LIZ !!! db YOU ARE AWESOME, but remember now there is no more lying to the wife!!! And to think you still have a couple of hairs left on your head! Good job! Wish we could have made it. An awesome Party for an awesome lady!

    1. I’m just glad she didn’t find out before the party. All that stressing to have it ruined would have really annoyed me…


  4. Oh you are killing me! I had no idea such a wonderous sub/deli existed…I just spent the last 10 minutes drooling over the menu. I am on day 20 of whole30 and I will now have to wait to try it :).

    That was an awesome gift for your wife’s 29th birthday 😉 What do you have planned for next year?

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