By Suzanne Sparrow Watson

Wedding anniversaries are something to be celebrated. Those of us who are married recognize that making it through another year of love, fun, in-laws at Thanksgiving and arguments about who should take the garbage out is something to be celebrated. This past weekend brother Bob and his wife, Linda, celebrated their 40th anniversary and the best part is, they didn’t have to plan a thing. In fact, they were the honorees at a surprise party planned and hosted by their three children, Stephanie, Dana and Jeff (and their respective spouses, of course). Linda’s sister, Starlet and I flew in to add to the surprise. And believe me, it was a real surprise because unbeknownst to them, we planned on staying at their house for the weekend.

FUN neighborhood group with bad boy Marc Webb

I admit, I was unaware of the traditions associated with a 40th anniversary so I consulted with my friend Google and, as usual, learned just how ignorant I am.  Turns out, the traditional gift for a 40th anniversary is a ruby. It was chosen because of its deep, rich color and symbolism of devotion and passion for life. WOW…I couldn’t think of a more perfect description of Bob and Linda. They are both curious, fun-loving, optimistic and enthusiastic about all that they do. As you can see from the photos, they (and their friends, I might add) really know how to have a good time. When I think of them, I conjure up images of people who really know how to take a big bite out of the apple. After the initial shock, and fortified by a little libation, they laughed, joked and enjoyed the evening as only they could.

Dana, Jeff, Stephanie – three FABULOUS kids!

Another traditional 40th anniversary gift is a party. Well…this one was one for the ages. The three kids did a fabulous job of organizing, decorating and planning down to the smallest detail. The decorations were right out of Pinterest and the photos kept everyone reminiscing and laughing all night. It’s rather humbling to look at photos of yourself from 40 years ago. There were just a few of us who were at their wedding and we kept squinting at the pictures, marveling at when we had either more hair or tighter skin. But one thing that remained the same is that Bob and Linda were fun-loving and family-oriented then and they have kept that ball rolling for 40 years. The fact that their children threw the party tells you everything you need to know about how beloved they are and what terrific and supportive parents they have been.  And don’t even get them started on the grandchildren unless you have an hour or more to spare.  Heck, even the sonogram photo of their grandson-in-waiting was drooled over.  That boy doesn’t know how great he’s going to have it.

Which leads me to the third piece of a traditional 40th anniversary gift – a family portrait.  I’m not sure a photo can capture just how special this family is but hopefully you can see by the smiles on their faces how genuinely happy they are to be together and share such an incredible, amazing bond.  Though much has changed in the world over the past 40 years, Bob and Linda have remained steadfast in their devotion to each other and their families. So…a toast to them and wishing them more decades of love, fun, exciting trips and good friends.

There is no more fun family than the Sparrows so for your entertainment I’ve posted a few of the family photos from the event.

The wonderful Sparrow family


Linda and three of her bridesmaids – Chris, me and Starlet

An historic year!

Haven’t we all felt like this at some point?






The older generation!



Always laughing!




23 comments on “SUR-PRISE, SUR-PRISE, SUR-PRISE!

  1. That would be a dream come true. Bob you know the best months just like PalmSprings. October Nov. March April the best. Anytime also works. Sept. 6th,7th,60 year high school reunion. Cindy new hip on the 10th of Sept. she might shoot for early Oct. Read you have a new hip. I had one in 2008. Friendship is forever. We had so many good times that we can’t forget. Gary L.

    • Thanks Gary, hope you have fun at your reunion. Cindy a hip replacement? Wow, seems like everybody’s getting one. always good to hear from you and yes, we had a lot of very good time together – working and playing.

  2. I left a note wishing you guys a happy Anniversary. It’s probably my computer lack of knowledge it’s been lost. Anyway you two still have that look of love for each other in your eyes. 40 years I bet seems like a blink of the eye. Try 60. You have a ruby I have the diamond. I think rugby’s are more. Way to go. I remember I cried during your service the whole time. I stood up there and my hankie was soaked. Your wedding was one of the best I’ve been part of. My wedding I had to get permission from my parents. Sandy was legal but at 18 men had to get O.K. from parents. Men weren’t legal until 21. 1960 to 2020 seems forever but in terms of marriage it seems like a small amount of time. I will tip one tonight in honor of your time together. Linda do you remember breakfast when I told you that you should choose Bob. Looks like we came up with the right guy. Love you guys GaryL. Want to let you know that the Lutheran Marriage encounter is one of the best things Sandy and I ever did together.

  3. Congratulations Dear Friends!
    ‘Tis a testament for sure to their…..
    Love of Family!
    Love of Life!
    Love of all!
    The Boxies!

  4. Looks like a fun partee and Linda and Bob will entertain you until the midnight hour! Of course now it is hard to stay up that late! Happy Anniversary!
    Love, Sharon and Cap

    • Sharon – we stayed up at the “Sparrow Bar” until 12:30 and you’re right – hard to stay up that late anymore!!

  5. Congratulations on your 40th anniversary Linda and Bob. It looks like you had a great time. Many more to come.

    • It really was very fun and they were truly surprised. Their kids are just great – worked hard to make it a great event.

  6. This was just great!! Wish I could have been there. They are the most fun, loving family that I know.They are always ready for a party or to travel. Love them all!!🤗❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️

  7. Great family fun as always! We have 55 coming up in December perhaps I’ll forward this blog to our kids….hint, hint

  8. What a wonderful anniversary party! I know so much about Bob and his family from what he writes. He and his wife are indeed adventurous and fun loving….and they share
    the Sparrow family’s sense of humor.

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