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Carol Perkins: Celebrating Geezerdom
The wisdom of the Octagenerian Guest of Honor, Russell Bryant Estes the 'shortest speech ever': I am reminded of what my father once told me. 'As much as possible live as plain as an old shoe.' -
The next earlier column: Girl & Boy things, back then, and now
By Carol Perkins
Judy (Irvin), Susan (Chambers), and I were invited to an Octogenarian Festival and the host told us it was on his family farm. We were to come no earlier than ten, eat at eleven, and sneak out anytime thereafter. He was also celebrating his eightieth birthday, officially, as he declared, entering the kingdom of "Geezerdom." "I am an official Geezer now," he said as he addressed his attendees.
The three of us left Edmonton fifteen minutes early because the family farm was not too far from my house. We headed down the road named after his father and find the family home, now a rental, but see no signs of a party. The road was a short one, so we drive up and down it twice. We knocked on a few doors, but no one seems to know anything. Finally, we found someone who knew the "family farm" was no longer this one having been sold years ago and the party was likely on another family farm toward Gascon/Cork. Off we went!
A posted sign led us from Hwy 68 through to a road where we thought we should be. We followed it to a sign that read, "No Trespassing." Knowing our host, we thought this might actually be the place. We followed a gravel/dirt road to a lovely cabin with its own pond, made a circle round the house, and were glad no one was home. The next road to the left had a "Private Property" sign so we took it to a washed-out gully that no car or van should have traveled but Susan took off, driving sideways part of the time on the rocks. "We could be shot down here," I said as she looked for space to turn around. A Doberman was eyeing us.
Back on the main road, Judy had an epiphany. "I think we go left and turn on the Cork Road; that is where his father grew up." We traveled that road until it ended in a washed-out area where water stood along the creek. By then, we were an hour late.
As we backed out of there, we saw arrows pointing down a drive with a freshly mowed field in sight. "This is it," Judy said when she recognized the log house-the place he was born. Most cars were parked in front of the house, but we drove straight to the edge of the creek. "You have violated the parking instructions," said our host dashing to greet us. Susan declared this spot was for handicapped parking.
Paradise was before us. So was a creek of which we had to cross. Stepping stones lay across the flattest part and a guide rope was tied from one tree to another. With the help of two strong guests, we crossed without incident. Friends had gathered: we three were from his young years. Susan and he grew up only a couple of years apart. Other guests were beloved former tennis players (and their parents) whom he had trained and followed into adulthood. Ed Thompson was one of his stars, having won many championship titles over the years.
After grilled chicken, shoulder and hotdogs with all the sides a person could want, he made his "shortest speech ever" as he said. "I am reminded of what my father once told me. 'As much as possible live as plain as an old shoe.' I think I have succeeded." Russell Bryant Estes - you have worn those shoes well and as you enter Geezerdom just remember-most of us thought you had been there all along!
This story was posted on 2018-04-25 13:04:55
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Carol Perkins: Girl & Boy things, back then, and now
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