Wednesday, February 11, 2009

The Leader of the Band - Dad's 80th Birthday - Part II

The leader of the band
Is tired and his eyes are growing old
But his blood runs thru' my instrument
And his song is in my soul
My life has been a poor attempt to imitate the man
I'm just a living legacy
To the leader of the band
I thank you for the music
And your stories of the road
I thank you for the freedom
When it came my time to go
I thank you for the kindness
And the times when you got tough
And papa I don't think I said
"I love you" near enough
Leader of the Band - Lyrics by Dan Fogelberg

That song was a tribute by Dan Fogelberg to his father and it always reminds me of mine whenever I hear it. i don't mind admitting that is sometimes makes my eyes a bit misty. To continue on Part I of our trip to Florida to celebrate the 80th party of our family's leader of the band, Saturday finally dawned sunny and reasonably warmer. It was in the high 60s. High 70s would have been much better. My sister put the party all together. Did all the planning and arranging and paid for it all. That was her gift to Dad. Apparently we managed to keep the party secret from him and he was pleasantly surprised when he entered my sister's house and everyone yelled "Surprise!". I missed that part as I was out back feeding the dog crackers to keep her quiet. My sister doesn't have a dog so that would have been a dead giveaway if he had heard Rosie. Speaking of Rosie she was apparently personna non grata even though we cleared her with my sister before we brought her with us. She's 15 years old now and leaving her by herself at our house for five days was not an viable option in our mind. We checked with dad's gf about her being in the condo and got an ok. We also called my sister and also got an ok although she had to stay out by their pool. That was fine with us since she would be close to us so she wouldn't be barking. However, once we got there, my sister and her husband said she had to stay outside the pool area since they would have the house open into the pool area and my niece's family are very allergic to animals. Putting her out in the yard away from everyone didn't really work as she barked constantly and she was eventually banished to the garage where we had hid our car. Ann spent considerable time out there with her and missed a good deal of the party. Anyway, my sister also arranged for a professional photographer to come and document the festivities and record the various families in attendance. First up was Dad's family. From left to right: me, my dad, my sister and my brother.
This is my niece's family. My sister's only child. I haven't seen her since she was in her early 20s and still single. Now she is in her 30s, married and with two kids. It was also the first time I got to meet her husband and her kids. They were all great. The baby was the hit of the party and everyone took a turn holding him.
When we were growing up my sister never exhibited an athletic bone in her body. The closest thing she did was when she was a twirler in the Newfoundland Fire Department Drum and Bugle Corps. Since she's moved to Florida and took up golf she's become the Tiger Woods of her country club. She's won the women's club championship at least once, if not more. She is forever hustling people on the course including our dad before he had to give up the game. So she decided we needed games for entertainment at the party. The first game was putting. My niece's husband was ultimately the winner. I went out in the first round. So much for my golf prowess. Here my aunt takes her turn:

After the putting, we continued the celebration, but most of all there was picture taking by everyone. It's the first time we've all been together as a family since the twins were 8. They're 26 now so its been a while. Here is my family again. From the left: my sister, brother, Dad and me. For those that might be curious of where our Mother is, she passed away from ovarian cancer in 1984.

Of course no party would complete without a drink or two. sometimes it still seems weird to have adult children old enough to drink. Here demonstrated by Daughter#2. The Son In Law must have been between drinks.

Here is picture of my brother and myself. He's 363 days younger than I and my sister is a year older than I am. Our Mother was literally pregnant for three straight years and then, as she has said, they finally bought a TV. My brother got the height and I got the good looks. Growing up we actually gotten mistaken for twins all the time. Not so much any more. He's actually a regular visitor here although he never comments, even on Delurking Day. He works for TSA and if you ever took a late evening flight out of Phoenix, you might have had your unmentionables x-rayed by him. He had some great stories. Maybe I can get him to do a guest post about working for TSA and having to deal with the public.

Prior to and after dinner, my sister brought out the Wii for some bowling. It was my first time to actually play a Wii and I have to admit it was a blast. Not that the rest of the civilized world has known this for years. I finished 2nd in the first go around and then got spanked by my niece's 4 year old the next time I tried it. A lesson in humility. Notice my great form.

We even got Ann up from the couch (or out of the car in the garage dog sitting) to give it a try. They had to do something with the controller or whatever because she is a lefty. She needs to bend more from the knees. LoL. My dad's gf, who owns the condo we stayed in, is in the background. She's a doll for all she does for my Dad.

My sister prepared an amazing dinner for everyone. Surf and turf. Steaks and lobster tails for everyone and oh it was good. Obviously Daughter#2 skipped the turf part, but did double up on the lobster tails so all was good. Finally there was the cake. here Dad cuts a piece for my niece's oldest, the one that spanked me on the Wii.

Needless to say fun was had by all. Special thanks goes to my sister for putting this all together. Lets hope the Leader of Our Band has many more birthdays to come.

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