"I'm going to speak my mind because I have nothing to lose."--S.I. Hayakawa

Sunday, July 15, 2012

The Yosemite Journals, Chapter Eleven

Those folks I went camping with in Yosemite last month are big on birthdays.  This trip coincided, intentionally, with two momentous birthdays.  Both Julia and Norman turned 70 while we were there.







Kathy also would celebrate a birthday later in June.  Her 29th she says, but I know for a fact that’s she older than I am, and I’m 34.

Anyway, birthdays are celebrated in this group, as I said.  Earlier in these journals I mentioned that the lack of underbrush in the campgrounds allowed us to see what our neighbors were having for dinner.  One night we noticed a group of healthy young studmuffins men ate only hot dogs and granola bars.  Katy offered them the rest of our chili and they came over and accepted with gratitude and grace, which gave us an ever closer view of their attributes.. 

So, with all that openness, you can imagine what other campers thought when late one afternoon we all donned silly hats and played even sillier birthday games, acting like a bunch of six-year-olds.  And this was all done BEFORE the almond champagne.

Kathy demonstrates the wrist-flick.

Norman improves on the wrist flick.

That one hit Smokey the Bear, says Kristy.

Norman and Kathy in the semi-finals.

First came a game of seeing who could pitch a plastic dart the farthest, using a launcher powered by a rubber band.  Kathy was the one who discovered the wrist flicking technique and soon the Lower Pines campground was in danger of being bombarded with UFOs from the Upper Pines grounds.

Then it was on to table croquet, a particularly annoyingly simple-looking game of knocking a wee ball through wickets with a plastic mallet.  On a wrinkled plastic table cloth.

Norman playing croquet.

We attempted to pitch balls into holes in a moving plastic sheet.  Soon we were knocking down foam cups with a paddle ball.  I forget the rest—the games were endless.  My friends do not lack for imagination.

The two sisters battle against each other to see who can knock down the cups with paddle balls.

But the best was saved for last, and I’m not yet talking about the almond champagne.

Julia and Missy in the peanut gallery were especially raucous and we had to admonish them several times to "keep it down."

The very best game was racing cars on the asphalt lane through the campground with balloon-powered cars.  I could have played that one all day.

The balloon-powered racing car.

Kristy and her racecar. The greatest distance was accomplished by the person who inflated the balloon with the greatest amount of hot air.  Uh, imagine my surprise when that turned out to be me. My race car is so far ahead, it's out of sight.

Then the pink cake boxes were retrieved from the steel bear boxes where they had been fermenting baking for several days.

Kathy’s cake for her 29th (!!!) birthday looked a bit the worse for its time in the bear oven.  We decided that its proper place would be in the bear-proof dumpster because it contained ingredients known in California to be harmful to your health when subjected to days of high temperatures.

That left the big sheet cake for Norman and Julia’s birthday.  It was in fine shape, and apparently made of indestructible ingredients not known in California to be harmful to your health after being subjected to days of high temperatures.

So, we ate as much as we wanted, then toasted Julia, Norman, and Kathy with almond champagne.

Because turning 70 is a big high-falutin' deal, Julia got out new cups for the almond champagne, rather than using the ones we had heretofore been battering about with rubber balls attached to paddles.

Then Julia and Kristy gathered up the leftover cake, a knife, and paper plates.  Off they went, offering birthday cake to everyone in the campground until they ran out.

Such a birthday party I’ve never before seen.  Totally awesome, except for the almond champagne.

1 comment:

  1. just finished reading your Yosemite Journal again. Really enjoyed the 'trip' with you. You take us many many neat places. one question....what happened to the other 'half dome' ? You never told us. Can we make up our own theory?