Merriment and Balloons

You may ask why I’ve failed to post about the day this past summer most planned ahead for, the one crucial to my parents’ happiness during their 50th married year that left me with self-insight amongst images of my history.

: : shuffles papers near desk; adjusts music volume : :

Can’t say I have a clue.

Last summer my mom and dad (mainly my mom) began using sentences including the phrase, “Less than a year, now…” I noticed also they spoke of “large enough places” in questioning tones, as in “I don’t think our little church would hold everyone, do you?”

It began to dawn on me. Even though my two younger brothers and I missed making an event of our parents’ silver anniversary (we each being engaged in various stages of finding ourselves), we had thrown a party, at our folks’ house, honoring their 35th. Now, however, something more golden and exciting might be called for.

Mom and I settled on Skinner Butte Park, on the Willamette River near the neighborhood where my dad grew up. Last November we reserved a cottage there for Saturday, July 29, 2006. My anxieties began.

Both of my brothers live in Washington State. They, along with my sister-in-law, eagerly pledged their support and help, saying things like, “We’re sorry we’re not closer, but let us know what we can do.” And they meant it; yet I had only vague ideas about what I should do, let alone how they could help.

At last, in May or so, Mom and I sat down to sort out a mailing list. I worked on an invitation, and my practical sis-in-law called to say, “You compose; we’ll mail.” She also mentioned ideas for details like plates and napkins “on sale at Costco, so I’ll just pick them up here.” Yay.

As we prayed for sunshine but mild temperatures on the approaching day, inspiration bloomed in my little brain. I’d see about hiring a photographer to capture the moments for us hundred or so who’d be munching goodies the ladies from Mom and Dad’s church had promised to bring (double Yay). It turned out we could receive Erin Julian’s affordable camera services. Then my daughter offered to put together photo collages from the past. This left Mom and me with the task, not of finding family pictures, but of choosing from the hundreds Mom keeps in her scrapbooking-goal boxes.

I think our day spent in the emotional realm of old picture excavation was the most energy-zapping.

Invites mailed, photo numbers narrowed, food planned, we approached the Big Day, not exactly knowing how anything would turn out. Thursday, July 27, my parents’ actual anniversary, I great fun scooting around town in my brother Dan’s van. Our “baby” bro, Richard, and Dan’s wife, Lynn, came, too, as Dan took us to Costco and other places to shop for balloons, a helium tank, guest book, double check the ordered cake and plunk a couple of food-tray orders into the mix for good measure. We goofed off, hitting food sample counters and kidding around. After the “boys” made a hardware purchase for a project they’d start and complete the next day in Mom’s pantry, nine of us headed to Café Yumm, a local tasteful eatery, for dinner. Then it was ice cream cones for dessert in a shop my Mom used to frequent (under different ownership) as a teenager.

Saturday morning brought a lightly clouded sky and the promise of afternoon mid-seventies. Since many people attending would be in their mid-seventies, this was perfect weather. Lynn headed up decorations at the cottage: balloon crew; table cloths; streamers; confetti. She missed no specialty. People began to arrive.



And so did the food.



We mingled.



We managed toasts…



and stories shared.



Memories…



and folks



abounded.



How could I forget to post about this day?



I guess I’ve just recently recovered, is all.

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