Tuesday, August 12, 2008

70th Birthday Weekend

(sorry about the pictures in this one.)
(we forgot to take the camera with us, and had to use my phone.)

My dad turned 70 this past Saturday. So, after the baby shower on Friday night, we loaded up Saturday morning and headed down to Jackson. We had previously discussed birthday plans, and has intended to go to Ezell's for supper, but Daddy ate at Ezell's earlier in the week, so Saturday morning we awoke to my sister phoning us to say that we were going over to Silas to east at Bimbo's.

Man! What a weekend full of firsts for me! First the baby shower thing, and now Bimbo's. I had no idea what Bimbo's would be like. But if it lived up to its name, the experience should be memorable. (Bimbo's used to be call Petrimalli's, and was an awesome pizza place, but changed owners several years ago).

We got to Jackson shortly after lunch. Mama had cooked a ham, so we had a sandwich and Daddy opened his birthday present from us. We got him new binoculars. Thanks to Chris Sentell, for helping me pick them out. Daddy really liked them and carried them with us the rest of the weekend.
Mama, Daddy, Heather and I left mid afternoon to head to Bimbo's. We had some things we wanted to see before we went to eat. My cousin, Barney Lawry, has a camp down the road from our house that Daddy wanted me to see. It really was very nice. He has tons of ducks out there. They must have thought that we were going to feed them, because they followed us everywhere.

We left Barney's, and headed on to our next stop. Years ago, when I was small, we had a camp on the Alabama River in a small community called West Bend. We went up there most weekends, and my parents were friends with all of the neighbors. I have lots of fond memories of going to the camp. Since we were going to be in the general vicinity, we decided to ride over and see if it had changed. I was surprised at how closely I remembered some things. So much was just as I had it pictured in my mind. The camp is still stained red with black shutters, just as it used to be. And all the trees around were still there, although larger. But some things have changed as well, of course. The old firepit that Daddy and Mr. Earl King built between our camps is not there anymore. It has been replaced with an updated pavilion with a metal roof. And the tetherball poll that stood in the King's yard is gone as well. Tetherball games were a part of our regular routine back then. I think that I was really too small to play the game as it was supposed to be played, but the King kids always helped me out (and mostly let me win). We reminisced about how the river used to get so high that we would drive in by boat and get out level with the deck. We also remembered the time my cousin, Charity, fell off of that deck into the yard. I'm pretty sure she got hurt, but I can't remember exactly how badly. I do remember that one time the King girls had made a tent out of beach towels and a boat trailor. I tried to use it as a hammock, and sailed through the towel and onto the ground. Mama and Daddy had to take me back into town to get my head stitched up. The old slough has grown up and gotten grassy, and I'm not sure if the boat ramp that Daddy built could even be used anymore, but for the most part, things are as I remembered them. The new owners had everything neat and clean, just as Daddy also always did.

After the trip to the camp, we still had some time to kill. So we rode out to the Army Corps of Engineers campground just across the river from Coffeeville. Our friends, Johnny and Patsy Counselman have been spending a lot of time over there in their camper, and Mama and Daddy wanted to see the campground. It really is a nice place over there, and we are lucky to have it available for public use. There were a lot of people camping, and very few spaces were available. It's hard to keep something like that a secret. We got out and walked around a little, and watched the river for a little bit.
Then we rode down to Bobby's Fish Camp, where Daddy had eaten Thursday night with some of the men that he used to work with at the REA. They knew about his birthday, and planned the outing with him to celebrate. I had heard of Bobby's Fish Camp for years, but had never actually seen it. So, there was ANOTHER first for me!

Finally, we made it to Bimbo's. It hadn't changed much from when it was Petrimalli's. My sister and her family got there soon after we did, and everybody ordered the crawfish tails, except for Mama and me. Mama got a pizza. I got catfish. The food was great! We ate and ate, and everybody had food left over. The waitress brought Daddy a piece of cheesecake with strawberries for his birthday. Daddy opened his gift from Sharee (a sign for the cabin that said "Welcome to the Nut House"). Then we wrapped things up and headed home.

After riding all afternoon, and eating so much at Bimbo's we were all worn out. But we had a great day, and I think Daddy had a happy 70th birthday. That's what it was all about anyway.

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