70, Family, Friends, Music, & Tall Grass

Today is my 70th birthday which means tomorrow I embark on my 8th decade of existence on planet Earth. I’m not yet sure how long I’ve really existed, however, because I have no empirical evidence that I did. Just “things” in my head that surely must be triggered by ancient memories about which I know nothing. Some I’ve shared. Some I can’t because I can’t format my limited words into a coherent statement well enough to describe some of the things I see when I close my eyes. Every time I do that I am treated to proof, to me, that thought is faster than a neutrino. As everyone knows, neutrinos were measured to travel faster than the speed of light, a speed that Einstein’s theory of relativity showed to be an absolute value. Nothing could travel faster. It was a speed limit of sorts. Now it’s been broken. But, the speed of thought can transport me millions of light years away in the blink of an eye.

Sorry about that. I kind of got sidetracked by a documentary I watched while checking this out.

Now, on to more important things like what I did today … first, however, I want to thank everyone who took the time to remember me today. I didn’t know I had so many friends, and family members older than me who could type. You all made me feel very special today. Thank you all!

Doug called me yesterday and suggested I join him and JP for another classic round of golf at the St. Helens Golf Course today at 0930. I said “yes” and told Diane who heartily agreed that I should go and enjoy the day. Besides, she’s working on the election counting board at the court-house today and probably won’t be home until some time Wednesday morning. So, I was released into the wild, free of supervision for an entire day.

At 0915 I headed for the golf course, arriving about 0925. It’s not very far away. Maybe 4 miles on back roads. We sat in the parking lot waiting for someone to arrive to give us a cart because we can’t make it around the course on foot like we used to. That person didn’t arrive until 1000, and the key to the golf cart barn wasn’t discovered until about 1030. By then the sun had risen that extra hour, causing us to be uncomfortably warm. Still, away we went.

It was fun, and we had a great visit. Since it was my birthday, I wasn’t allowed to spend money so my round, and share of the cart, were free for me. What a treat. Then we went to lunch at Fultano’s in Scappoose, something that’s verging on becoming a traditional stop after golf.

Before going to Scappoose, however, I had to back track to home and get some keys that I needed to deliver to the church. Coming in the back way, as I turned down N. Vernonia Road, I saw Diane heading down the street ahead of me as she had just pulled out from our street. I waved, but I’m sure she didn’t see me as I turned toward home.

Since Diane had just left the house, the dogs weren’t the least bit impressed that someone opened the garage door. They couldn’t have cared less, in fact. They didn’t make a peep. I gathered the keys I needed and headed off to church, dropped the keys, then went directly to Fultano’s where I found Doug and JP sitting outside, in the hot sun, waiting for me. I figured they would be inside, but they chose to make me feel really bad for the delay by sitting out there dripping sweat everywhere.

We had the meal and Doug made me feel worse, in a way, because he insisted on paying for my lunch. I didn’t think that was fair since he and JP had paid for golf, but apparently I wasn’t convincing enough and I didn’t want to get into a shouting match with my friends. So, I graciously accepted the gesture knowing that at some point in the future I’ll have a chance to reciprocate.

From lunch I went directly to the DMV to get my new driver’s license. I needed to do that so I can drive tomorrow because my old one expired today. That means, theoretically, if I went some place at 2359 this evening my license would expire at 0000 and I would no longer be able to drive. I’m not sure how that works, like if my arms would just freeze up causing me to miss a corner, or if the vehicle I was in would stop working. Not wanting to tempt fate, I thought it would be best to just get it done.

I walked into the DMV, took my number, and was immediately called to the counter. It was amazing! Normally I have to wait at least an hour or so to be called, but I got right in. The fact that I was the only customer in the place may have had something to do with that, but it was still a treat. Traditionally, the DMV is always crowded.

As soon as I got to the counter, and started laying out the paperwork necessary for my new license, and my new disabled pass, I realized I was missing a crucial piece of ID. My passport. Either that, or a birth certificate was necessary to prove I’m a real citizen and worthy of getting my license renewed. I was given a little stamped piece of paper and sent off to get the passport.

When I returned the parking lot was full and I knew I was doomed to a long wait. However, I learned the little piece of paper was a special front of the line pass and again was beckoned directly to the counter upon entering the office. Another treat for my birthday. Additionally, I was served by a fellow retired Chief Petty Officer named John, who just happens to be Diane’s cousin. That’s handy. We have things in common.

John checked my eyes to make sure they worked, took my picture without specs so the NSA’s facial recognition will be able to detect me if I’m ever kidnapped, or rob a bank, gave me my documents, and sent me on my way. It was about the best ever visit I’ve had to the DMV.

From there I went directly home where I checked the bag I found on the front porch during my previous visit because I didn’t have time to check it then. It contained two pints of grape jelly from our friend Jeannie E who made the jelly from the grapes she harvested from our vines. I’m looking forward to my next PB&J with a strange new desire because of this. Maybe I’ll have one for breakfast.

Yesterday I got a birthday card in the mail from Susan who lives in Connecticut. She’s my Sister-In-Law Ruth’s granddaughter so suspect she some sort of niece of mine. I figure that’s true because she, and her siblings, as well as Sarah, call me Uncle Jerrie. They call Diane Aunt Diane, too, just to reinforce my belief. I also got cards in the mail from PGE and my insurance company. I liked Susan’s the best. I got many other cards, too, but they weren’t delivered in the mail and I really liked them, too.

I sat down on in my recliner for about an hour waiting for Jennie, Cedric, Lydia, & Jeran to arrive with dinner. I was told to do nothing, so I didn’t. They arrived with spaghetti (my favorite), french bread (my favorite) and a tray of cucumber, carrot, and radish (my favorite) slices. We had a terrific dinner and had time to visit a bit before it was made known that they had also arrived with a festive bag for me.

In the bag were cards from the kids, and from Jennie. Both had buttons which I will wear with pride. I’ll take a picture when I do so you can see them. The children’s button says I’m the “#1 Grandpa”. Jennie’s reports that “My Daughter is #1”, which she truly is. I also got a crafty picture frame and a unique rendition of a family tree which Jennie started with her thumbprint in green for leaves. It came with red paint so all the grandchildren can add their thumbprints as fruit. Very cool and especially excellent because it’s home-made.

After the gifts were given, Jennie, Cedric, and Jeran left because Jeran had to be at the high school to participate in his final choral recital of the year. He had to be there by 1830 for the 1900 show. Lydia stayed with me because she had some home work to do and it wasn’t time for us to go yet.

Then Jeff, Heather, Gilligan, Baylee, and Jerrie showed up to round out the day of special events. The girls are such a joy and I love them very much. I love their Mom and Dad very much, too. I was given a tie-dyed T-shirt, that they helped create, proclaiming me to be a “The World’s Best Grandpa, Hands Down”. Then all three girls were given a color of paint which they used to apply their hand prints to the front of the shirt. Since Lydia was here, she got to add hers, too. I will get Cedric’s & Jeran’s the next time they are here. It’s very awesome.

After the visit Lydia and I headed for the high school for the recital. We were a bit late, and the parking lot was more than full, so I parked illegally in a loading zone. It was OK. I was next to someone else who had parked there first. There wasn’t going to be any loading during the recital.

We got inside just as the acapella choir was finishing their opening bit. It was dark, and we couldn’t see right away, so couldn’t find the seats that were being saved for us. Lydia’s eyes adjusted quickest and she led me in. Though I stepped on the toes of a few strangers, no one complained because they just didn’t care.

The recital is put on by choral groups from 7th through 12th grades so there are a lot of kids involved. Jeran is finishing up 8th grade this year so we hadn’t missed him as his class came on as the third group. All the kids were sitting in the front rows of the auditorium and when Jeran’s class stood up to go on stage he was immediately prominent as one of the tallest. They did awesome, as did all the other groups and grades. One advanced group performed a piece that lasted about 15 minutes. It was an incredible amount of words and melodies to remember but they did it perfectly.

For the finale, some of the kids went on stage to the risers, others lined the sides of the auditorium, and the remainder stood and faced the audience as they all sang an incredibly beautiful rendition of “Hallelujah“. Whenever I hear the song I get totally mesmerized by the melody and have never really listened to the lyrics. I have to admit that they don’t seem to fit with the beauty of the melody, but the combination, to me, is very beautiful to hear, especially in 4-part harmony by such a large group. Had I been the least bit aware, and used only a tiny bit of my little used brain,
I would have taken a video of the performance, but all I have is one photo.

IMG_0863Jeran is the tallest one, center, of the row facing the audience. He did a great job. All the kids did a great job and I loved all 2 hours of it.

Now, just for fun, here are some photos of the brownie cake Jennie made, that I didn’t mention …

IMG_0865

Brownie Birthday Cakes are awesome!

The cake Nelda made for me last week …IMG_0070The 3-Jerry Group …

IMG_0071Tom swinging in the breeze …

IMG_0072 … and a little chronological sequence of the grass battle at the church …

First is from May 10th when Howard jumped in to save me from having to flattened all this with a weed whacker …

IMG_0069

Then I used the church mower to chop it down some more, and scatter the grass so it would dry …IMG_0063

… and raked it into piles to load into the truck. It seemed like a good idea at the time, but it was brutal.
IMG_0065The next effort will be to load and move the grass using a real pitchfork, then mow and vacuum before it has a chance to grow any more. I’m taking my mower out there to help with that.

OK. That’s all I got for this effort. It’s now 0105 on May 21st, I’m still alone with the dogs, and I’m going to bed.

4 thoughts on “70, Family, Friends, Music, & Tall Grass

    • Hi John. Two trees and some rope is all you need, but, preferably, having someone hand you one works best. That was a photo of my friend Tom in the hammock. Had I tried, I would have hurt myself for sure. I have a long history of somehow getting injuries from innocuous things. Love your stories.

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