Sunday, August 3, 2014

LaRue's Fiftieth

... what kind of chip is this? ....
 ... Piper Hicks and Graham arrive at the party...
The August long weekend party on the property has shifted over the years.

First it was a practise to see if Richard and Miranda really wanted a pig roast for their wedding dinner.

For a while there was an annual pig roast on the property.

 ... Nolan Pilling heads for the bouncy castle ...
Then there was an August long weekend when Reid and Misty got married.That party couldn’t have been more fun.

Laynie offered to take over the party planning tradition this year, first designating the place as under the cherry trees.

The party was named Happy 50th Birthday, LaRue, for she was incorporated in 1964, birthed January 14th, Doral’s birthday though she was just a shell company belonging to Ruth and Lawrence George Kearl, Jr.

... Kelvin, the oldest party goer ...
And that is enough preamble.

The open invitation to family and friends was put up at Five Corners – a home made poster tacked to an old piece of plywood, decorated with helium ballons and propped up on a dolly.

“Follow us on twitter” it said.

 ... Laynie, preparing bottles of bubbles...
“What is twitter,” asked the older folks who are mainly those over 30 with small families. The really old-older folks raised their eyebrows, looked at each other, shook their heads and said, “Twitter? Beyond us.” The social media savvy younger took note of the address and followed the party at #LaRue50th.

“Twenty-five of us are coming,” tweeted Paul Lund.

Janet made sure everyone had name tags, which seems a little strange, since it was a family party.

 ... Zach photobombs Jeremy ...
But there are a plethora of under five year olds…so little that to see their eyes you really have to squat way down on the ground to speak with them.

Way, way down.

LaRue could have accommodated even another dozen people or so.

 ... Nolan, determined to move forward ...
Two BBQ’s were lit and the good-times began. Already there were twelve dozen buns, sixty sausages, 80 wieners, and five oversized bowls of chips, which were replenished and replenished.

Pop was there, water, juice, Mr. Freeze sticks and ice-cream: Bubble Gum, Tiger-Tiger and a 2 ½ gallon tub of ice-cream of Black Forest.

Both the size of the tub and the flavour appealed to the adults.

...  Landon getting permission to get to the bouncy castle ...
If it is true that families are linked genetically with certain genes, our link is manifest in the size of ice cream cone or bowl that we think is a single serving.

No counting how many times you could go through the line.

The only call out for food was … “The bubble gum flavour is going fast. Get in line if you don’t want to miss it.”

 ... Zach by the woodshed ...
wo hammocks were in the cherry trees.

The Robertson teen-agers helped put up the other two hammocks.

Together, the four hammocks created a square between the cabins.

Teague wonders if the hammock will support his weight
The manufacturing spec on the hammocks were tested: one hammock can hold 200 kilograms.

They were used as chairs, swings or as a place to throw yourself into with a good book. The sides will close in and to know who is in the hammock at that point requires a peek inside.

The games began. I pulled out the rope that Doral bought for me at Chesney’s Hardware when I asked him to find me a double Dutch rope that I could use with my own little family.

... the hammock stands up to the test ...
“Pretty old looking – a lot of road wear on that,” someone said to me.

I never look at it that way.

I only see on it the patina of  years of skipping doubIe Dutch on the rope.

... Kalina...
I remembered again the day he brought it to me, fashioning it first into a lasso and showing me how he could rope a calf when he was young .

We jumped to “I had a little teddy bear / his name was Tim” and then switched to that game where everyone runs through, then in and out of the rope with they jump, first one skip, then two, then three.

 I couldn’t remember all of the skipping rhyme, “Spanish dancers turn around, round, round / Spanish dancers touch the ground, ground, ground / Spanish dancers to the splits, splits, splits ….”

 ... Senya Bates under the cherry trees ...
I thought old people were supposed to have long term memory, but that skipping rhyme from my childhood is now only half there.

Janet was full of more games ideas than I.

She had a beautiful new multi-coloured parachute for a tag game.

 .... Audra, head wreath from Spittlefields ...
Frisbees were thrown in another corner of the double cabin yard.

The motor of the bouncy house was humming in another corner of the yard.
 Some families ate on the fragile deck of Panabode 1.

Others sat in their Roots and Blues chairs, or had laid out towels on the ground.

 .... Robertson cousins arrive ...
Dave Wood made a sweep of the beach with his truck and delivered the sturdy white rose medallion imprinted lawn chairs, a great addition for those who find it harder than they used to, to get up and down from the ground.

Kelvin sat in his walker.

Theresa Oldham
The food was delivered in waves: “all under five – bring an adult to help you dip up”, “all under fifteen” and the call-out continued.

“A great idea,” said Trina. “No plates – just a napkin to handle the bun and potato chips.” “No planning there. We are just cheap.”

“Years of planning and having big families,” she countered. “Intuitively you know – what is the use of having all of those paper plates laying around.”

When we were finished eating the games continues.

Kalina Oldham                   
Janet had laid out sturdy white plastic bags

Either malt or hops comes in those bags. They are study”, someone explained.

For today the bags were doubling as gunny sack for the races.

It was the moms with young children who lined up first and hopped their way to the finish line.

Rita went down. Anita tried to hop through her. Laynie hopped over her.

Rita kept going and made it to the finish line, victorious on her hands and knees.

Every age group continued, some so young they needed help, either getting the whole bodies into the bags which now came up to their shoulders, or by receving the kind of help that meant they were nestled inside the bag with their dads carrying them along.

The older male cousins got into the bags for their turn – not determined to make it to the finish line, but scheming how to get in the way of someone else who might make it to the finish line.

Some low level injuries were sustained.

A slight fear crossed over my heart that there would be the need to call an ambulance.

Duck, Duck Goose – could there be a family party without everyone having their turn to be the goose?

Rita Lund
Some of the young ones didn’t know which way to run when it was their turn.

Others ran and then squeezed in anywhere in the circle and sat down fast enough to make themselves the winner.

Who cares if they made it back to the spot they left from?

Nathan getting into the "gunny sack"
Having your wits about you.

That is what the game is all about.

Music from the 60’s was playing in the background.

After all, this was a party about being born in about the sixties.

Celeste Wyora
Tunes like "Money" and “You Can’t Make Me” played as easy listening music and some people sung along.

 ... getting the hot dogs fixed just right ...
The women from the Bates group evoked Woodstock when they came with flowers either woven into their hair or encircling the crowns of their heads.

Janet had bags of party favours. Everyone under five got a whistle.

Chelsea, Alicia, Dave Wood
Not the kind of whistle that gets taken away from you when you have blown it too many times at Christmas. No. These were whistles that you could blow and blow … and blow.

Paul Lund
“Listen,” laughed Glen. “It is like an orchestra of crickets in the evening. They are not going to quit blowing those whistles until they hit their beds tonight.” 

Red-Rover, Red-Rover – hard not to say the words and not feel a wave of nostalgia for the number of times I can remember seeing that game played in that space.

 ... Aiden getting ketchup off of his fingers ...
No wonder that game is banned from playgrounds these days.

The three year olds were playing; the 83 year old was playing.

Alex hadn’t played this game before and wanted to know the rules of the game.

 ... Rex rests in the hammock ...
Oh, not the rules per se, but the social rules, since it was pretty obvious that no combination of hands could stop Nathan or Alex should they really want to get through.

The party set up in the morning was done by a mystery committee.

I don’t know who was on it. By the time I got over there with 2 utility tables and a couple of table clothes, there was already a brand new tent up in the middle of the lawn, with garbage cans there, and a pop-can recycling area.

Norah and Adam
Someone else had opened the cabin doors, airing the rooms out for the cabin tours.

... Zoe flashes a smile ...
The clean-up after the party was equally seamless.

People took home what they had brought and soon the area was clean.

There was no paper or plastic left on the ground.The litter patrol at work.

The katabatic evening wind was sweeping down from Larch Mountain.

... the hot dog line-up ...
Moiya, Wyona and I stayed behind to talk a bit – alone now, over by the boat shed.

Charise brought over a flashlight in case Wyona needed it for her journey home.

If we had stayed later, Wyona wouldn’t have needed the flashlight.

Lexi Robertson ... without her motor bike
The night sky was clear and the stars were bright. I could find my way from one house to the other by the light of the moon later on in the evening.

Happy 50th Birthday, LaRue.

I don’t know who it was that made the party a success.

My guess is that the help came from the moms and dads who have hopes that their children will be around to celebrate LaRue’s 75th.



  1. Thanks for the report and the photos. I feel like I was almost there. Sounds like the perfect party. Naomi and Rhiannon would have been in the hammock the entire time and Xavier would have brought a light up Frisbee so that the Frisbee match could have continued into the night.

  2. We were talking about the party and the hammocks just today. There was always someone in them, -- but no line-ups. Just a hammock would empty and someone else would climb into it. As for the light-up Frisbee? That is going to be worth a trip to town to find. The days are starting to get shorter -- so there will be more time for games in the late evening. Where did Xavier buy his?