It was a success! When everyone first yelled "Surprise!", for a moment there I thought my friend was going to turn and bolt. But then she saw who was there, and that made all the difference. Her daughter had invited people her mother had once been close to but hadn't seen in years; some of them flew in from out of state. And some of them she'll probably never see again, as they are getting along in years. It was a lovely California party, candles floating in the pool, etc. The daughter can be kind of a flake, but this time she got it absolutely right.