Sunday, October 12, 2008
Suprise 80th birthday
On 22 October TheLegend will turn 80 years old. Due to the logistics of getting people here from all over the planet, the surprise party was held yesterday. Partiers from such far reaching spots as Dolores, CO, Mobile, AL, Atlanta, GA, Indiana, and even St Petersburg, Russia gathered at the deer camp to eat, drink, make merry, and toast 8 decades of a life that's been interesting to say the least. In an appropriate 'circle of life', TheLegend was born on the same 40 acres that the camp is on. Also as one might expect with this group, it was not the usual birthday party.
First of all, the normal 80th birthday party is not held at a hunting camp in the woods. Restaurant, church basement, open house at someones home perhaps, but for a guy who has spent his life in the woods hunting, skiing, farming Christmas trees, making firewood, and generally puttering around, this seemed very appropriate. For that very reason the theme of the party was lumberjacks. The red and black plaid was out in full force. Rather than a catered affair, everyone brought food. Nipper and TheMayor made fry bread and yours truly made two big dutch ovens of 'Ojibwa stew', a venison and wild rice based concoction that sticks to your ribs for sure. A beer or two was also hauled into camp. For a guy that suffered a week with Presidente, Medalla Light, and the occasional Heineken or Corona, this feast of microbrewed beer was a sight for sore eyes and just what the doctor ordered for my dormant beer palate. At least four different Octoberfest brews were in the cooler, which added to the fall theme. A great birthday cake was made with trees, a woodpile, and two lumberjacks cutting wood; it would have been a shame to stick 80 candles in it so we didn't. The FunnyWoodMan found an eight foot long log, drilled 80 holes in it, and the VOR inserted 80 candles, 10" tapers not tiny birthday candles. The log was then lit and carried out by a half dozen 'log bearers' and presented to The Legend in front of the camp's porch. About that time a dog fight broke out among a couple of the eight or so canine guests that were in attendance, so the situation was normal. Surprisingly, Rookie the Wonder Dog was neither a participant or instigator, probably because he was busy 'guarding' the buffet table and waiting for his chance. Happy birthday was sung and two original numbers, new lyrics for the Beverly Hillbillies theme song, and Monty Python's Lumberjack Song were performed. Once again some technical issues with the CD player and another dog fight marred the perfection of the event but no one seemed to mind. The sun went down, the moon came up, and people drifted off towards home, reveling in the perfect fall day.
And it was perfect. The weather cooperated nicely, fall colors were at their peak, and the turnout was excellent. The surprise aspect was pulled off nicely and everyone had a great time. The VOR and TheMayor orchestrated the thing nicely and everyone pitched in to make it a real team effort. As I wrote on the 'log cookie', a 16" segment of tree trunk that served as the birthday card, "Great stuff. Count me in for the 90th".