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
did a hike up a mountain that was guaranteed tucker the young
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
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.
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
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
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
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
of orthodontic treatment to correct over-bite: upper and lower blocks.
I'm surprised such big pieces of plastic fit in his mouth.
completely mangle and muddle his speech (although of course over time
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
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
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
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.
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