Monday, July 27, 2009

Happy Birthday

Hello Fellow Campers,

The sunburn is fading; the muscles ache a bit less this morning, we have nothing but praise for God’s blessing of good weather all weekend. It was a very good party.

Deb was 50 on June 15th, but we waited to celebrate until Father’s Day and all the graduation parties finished.

I had never considered making it a surprise party, as I knew I’d need help with the guest list and the arrangements, and I would be challenged to approach the competence Deb exhibited in 1995 when she threw my surprise 50th birthday party.

So we planned a pig roast with all the trimmings. We used Billy’s restaurant in Spring Grove for the catering and ABC rental in Round Lake for the tent, tables and chairs and some emergency help Friday night.

We invited family, friends and Deb’s co workers, and a few neighbors. I knew it would be a terrific turn out, and it was. It was wonderful to see so many good people having a happy time.
People brought appetizers, side dishes and desserts, and lots of hugs for Deb and me. We saw friends on Saturday that came a good distance to be with us, and people that we have neglected over time, as our path and theirs crossed less frequently. Uncle Johnny was there at 84, the senior statesman to attend. There were kids and Strider the Wonder Dog too. We also had a surprise visit by Little Miss Peanut, Hailey Fish, daughter of Perry and Julie Fish.

Our good friend John Puleo came over Friday and helped set up the tent, a 20 foot by 30 foot beauty from ABC Rental. Our friends and next door neighbor, Paul and Karen Sorenson own ABC, so we have always used them for tents and just about anything else you could want to rent. John and I were a little confused about the center poles in the tent, so Paul and his grandson Zak came over and helped tune up the installation to withstand the high wind Friday night.

Saturday morning Deb was a whirling dervish, making beds, picking up, putting the ubiquitous pillows shams on and doing last minute weeding. The weather was post card perfect and Billy’s arrived about 2:30 in the afternoon and proceeded to exceed my expectations completely.

They carved and served the pork, some with BBQ sauce and some plain. The pork was the best I’ve had, period. Their baked beans reminded me of my mom’s beans, and the potato salad and slaw was delicious.

Prior to that, there were plenty of things to snack on and after dinner there was cake and ice cream and singing. Plenty of other desserts were there too, including brownies, cookies and pound cake.

The party continued until about 9 PM when the mosquitoes became overwhelming.

During all of this Strider, our cocker spaniel was a real lady, trotting around with the kids and looking for hand outs. A week ago she developed a pain syndrome, perhaps caused by some nerve or orthopedic problem. It scared us a lot. We were supposed to keep her quiet until she healed, but on Saturday it was an impossible task. Sunday Strider paid the price. We had to carry her down stairs to go out, and she laid in the yard most of the day looking sad. Her eyes seemed to ask the question, why? We’ll be getting x rays and hopefully she will return to 100 percent soon. She will be seven years old in September.

Deb and I cleaned up Sunday, stacking the chairs and tables and taking down the tent. We took our time and started the day (at 8 am) with a cold beer and birthday cake. Who says the Harrell’s don’t know how to party.

We probably had seventy five adults and twenty kids at the peak. Music was provided by John Puleo’s speaker system and my Ipod.

Too many times the only way to get this kind of turn out is at a funeral or wedding. We forget how many wonderful people we know and sadly lose track of in the rush of everyday life. It is too easy to get wrapped up in our own problems and activities until something happens to bring us together.

We thank everyone for the gift of their presence, sharing their favorite dishes in the feast, and the many hugs and smiles that still light our way.

I thank God for the gift of Deb all these years, as she is the leavening in my life, the ying to my yang and my wonderful partner.

God Bless.
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