September 2002

Sherwood family on top of Stonewall Peak
Brad holding court on the left while Doug and PJ plot insurrection
Kristi eats her S'more
The Beck house on Bryant and El Dorado
Doug can't get the ball back fast enough for another try at Dad
It is not so bad once you get used to it.
Shot on Brad in Goal
Doug the Wall eyes the ball
Brad the midfielder calls for the ball
Doug makes the stop
Doug with Russ and Bennett Bird and others atop Black Mountain

We went camping over Labor Day Weekend.  Not we as in Doug and Keith, but we as in Keith, Kristi, Brad and Doug.  This is a rather important distinction, as we have never camped together before.  Bradley camps in Durango, and Dad and Doug camp with Indian Guides.  Keith and Kristi camped a couple times during courtship, but most recently camped when Brad was but 18 months old, so Doug obviously didn’t come with us. 
One of the nice side benefits of volunteering at school for Kristi is making friends with some of the other moms.  Kristi really  hit it off with Gail and Julie, moms from Doug’s first grade class whose friendship was cemented by the common Little League team.  Way back during baseball season,  Gail invited Kristi's and Julie's families camping as part of a 4 family gathering. 
All told, there were 10 adults (8 parents and 2 grandparents) and 12 children (Brad being the oldest). This was car camping in the Laguna Mountains east of San Diego at a State campsite.  Sunday morning we did a hike up a  mountain that was guaranteed tucker the young ones out.  
Back in suburbia, Kristi has taken up walking in the morning with Gail and Julie.  That’s 5 a.m. in the morning, apparently the only time when busy moms can create a little time for themselves.  Since she goes to the gym Monday, Wednesday and Friday after dropping the boys off at school, Kristi’s only walking Thursdays so far. 
The second Saturday in September, the 7th, Keith flew up and back to San Jose for Great Aunt Bergie’s funeral.  Aunt Bergie Beck lived in Palo Alto, just south of Stanford (and just a little north of Intuit’s headquarters in Mountain View, it was discovered).   As the only viable flight got him there several hours early, Keith had the morning to explore the Silicon Valley.  He spent it visiting headquarters buildings of icon companies of the Silicon Valley (sorry, I'm a geek), then dropped in on Roger and Rose Webb-Lowe and their new daughter Miranda in Sunnyvale.  Rose is Chrysanne’s (Kristi’s brother’s Jeff’s wife) sister.  But the easiest explanation of the relationship is that Roger is Keith's brother-in-law’s brother-in-law.  Whatever.  They graciously opened up their in-the-process-of-being-remodeled home to Keith when he called from the airport and invited himself over. 
Bergie was the last of the immigrant generation; she was born in Norway in 1900 and came through Ellis Island at 16. She married Al, born in Denmark and older brother to Keith’s father’s mother. The Becks being 100% Danish, Keith is one quarter Danish.  It's the only genealogy Keith knows, thanks mostly to the Beck-Sherwood family reunions.
After the funeral, a reception was held at Bergie and Al’s house in Palo Alto. Keith has vivid memories of the house from visiting Aunt Bergie and Uncle Al from the California car trips of the 70’s: the trains going by at the end of the street, the cherry trees and the tree that gave three fruits (Al had grafted plum and apricot branches onto a cherry tree).  Aunt Bergie had the most wonder accent.  
Large contingents were at the reception from both the Danish Beck and Norwegian Martinsen sides, although it was but a subset of the very large group that gathered there two years ago for her 100th birthday.  That was the last time we were there.  Keith enjoyed talking and taking pictures.  He especially enjoyed talking to second cousin once removed (his grandfather and my father are cousins) Nick Nennis, just out of high school and just bought himself a Mustang.  Having a Mustang himself, Keith chided young Nick on not opting for either the convertible nor the GT.  Nick probably just thought, “Who is the old guy?”
The first Sunday in September is the Torrey Pines Christian Church picnic, held right on the grounds of the church after second service.  This year for the first time ever there was a dunk tank.  Keith was asked to take 15 minutes in the booth.  Whether he was asked because he was Layman of the Year, Vice Chair of the Board, or 5th grade sunday school teacher was never made clear.  Suffice it to say they must have felt there were enough people in the church willing to pay money for the chance to dunk him.  It turns out in hindsight that adults never get a chance to throw at another adult in a dunking booth because children monopolize the action. Children aren't discriminating about the adult target, either. For a brief moment, while they are lining up their shot on the target, the tables are turned and they control the adult's destiny.  They didn't care who the adult was, because it was a representative of the entire caste.  
Soccer practices started last month, and games started this month.  Brad's team is struggling, while Doug's team is rolling over their competition.  This is a reversal of sorts from past years, where Brad's teams did very well and Doug tasted the agony of defeat too often.  Doug has 4 really good players on the team, when most have two or three, so expectations are rising for them to go along way in the playoffs in December.  Both Brad and Doug play goalie one half and full back (defensive position in front of goalie) the other half.  Doug shows an excellent sense of geometry while he's in the goal, stationery, but as half back still tends to run to where the ball is, not where it's being dribbled.  Brad is seeing some playing time at midfield.  He doesn't have the wind or speed to play the position as well as some other kids, but he's developing field sense and does a good job of passing forward to the open man.
Brad got his braces off and was relieved of his retainer.  For one glorious week his mouth was appliance free.  He could eat anything.  He got his school pictures taken.  Then he went to phase two of orthodontic treatment to correct over-bite: upper and lower blocks.  I'm surprised such big pieces of plastic fit in his mouth.  They completely mangle and muddle his speech (although of course over time he is adjusting and becoming clearer).  For someone who communicates so often and so well via talking, this is a hard blow indeed.  He is fighting through social stigma and cruel comments at school, and impressing his parents with his resolve.
The Indian Guide event for September was a small group hike up Black Mountain.  I already described the hike as a bike ride back in March .  Doug and Keith do this hike about once a year, and Doug has no trouble with it.  Keith would still like to hike it one day as he bikes it: starting from our house (instead of driving as far up it as you can before starting to walk).  Children (Doug and Brad), being more sensible, have no desire to make the hike harder than necessary by walking any portion that can be driven.
Brad has joined the Bike Club at school.  They go on ever more strenuous training rides preparing for the Ride Across California (RAC) over spring break, when they start with their back tire in the Colorado River at the Arizona border, and end up 6 days later with their front tire in the Pacific Ocean. The RAC is another annual event, like the fourth grade field trip to Sacramento and the fifth grade field trip on the Star of India, that Brad and his parents have eagerly anticipated since the first grade.  The RAC and the bike club are the labor of love of Brad's teacher, Mr. Bueker.  They're another example of how he builds self-esteem, and of why Brad and fifth grade boys in general revere him. The initial rides are halfway down the canyon preserve and back.  On Veterans Day they'll take parents along who want to ride the RAC and go the full distance of the canyon and back.  In January they do Friday afternoons around Miramar Lake, and in February they will go 30 miles around San Diego Bay.  

When naivety and politically correctness collide:
Brad, commenting on the dirty feet of an adult camping in sandals: “You have African American feet!"

Worst Case Scenario:
Your eldest son creates a Worst Case Scenario game for the 10 children on a camp out.  One of the events is to get bottle caps off the hood of your new Camry.  The children are of course too short to pick up the bottle caps, so they scrape them across the hood of your formerly brand new Camry.

Related Web sites:
Doug's Soccer Team.

Text and Pictures Copyright © 2002 Keith Sherwood - All Rights Reserved