My father turns 60 this month so we (my brothers and I, plus our families, of course) gathered at my parents’ place in West Virginia for a work weekend—our birthday present to him.
We’ve done this before. It’s kind of our standard birthday gift. But it’s a fun one. He and Mom make the rounds between my house and my brothers’, helping out with whatever needs helping out with, so it’s nice to turn the tables and return the favor.
This time around, we fixed, scrubbed, tilled, mended, built, weeded, dug, hauled, mulched.
At the end of the day, there was a tour to admire the completed work.
A lot got accomplished, but our work pace was leisurely. There were lots of breaks for visits, hikes, playing, and long lazy meals. In fact, it didn’t feel like we were working all that much.
Or maybe that was just my feeling.
I mostly wandered around with my camera, taking pictures of everyone else doing all the work, though I did spend some time in the raspberry canes. I even have the scratched-up ankles to show for it.
(Just because you can’t see them doesn’t mean they’re not there.)
Other activities included:
Also, I managed to almost burn the house down with some waffles.
Sunday brunch was my responsibility, so I made waffles, since that’s what I do on Sundays. Apparently, the three waffle irons were too much for the house’s electrical system and halfway through the meal, the table erupted with shouts of “Fire!” and “Flip the breaker!” and “Where’s the extinguisher!” I had no idea what was going on, except that I could no longer cook my waffles since all the power was suddenly shut off. So while the rest of the family jumped about and flapped their arms, I blew out all the votive candles and shooed the stunned children out onto the porch .
And then I grabbed my camera and took a picture of the deserted table. Deserted by everybody except for one happy, waffle-eating person—the boy who cried fire. Was that a smooth move, or what?
Once the situation was under control, the evacuees were called back in and we resumed our waffle feasting, though with one less waffle maker and with the other two plugged into outlets that weren’t connected to the bad circuit.
And just so you know, burning electrical cords smell like a rotting animal, not like scorched chemicals like you (or I, at least) would expect.
As for the birthday celebrating, it wasn’t a fancy-schmancy affair. We didn’t even have a birthday cake.
Instead, my mom let the kids stick some candles in Saturday’s breakfast sweet rolls, and we burst into rousing renditions of Happy Birthday whenever the mood struck.
And then we drove home through a warm spring rain to our little piece of world that is now a bright Irish green.