Heavy week of news?…let’s think back on better times

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Submitted by Kay Helbling

When I sat down to write my posting for the week, my head was spinning. So much heavy news to filter and the weight of two boys in college didn’t help. I decided we could all use a break by taking ourselves back to a more carefree time. Maybe my memories will rekindle a memory or two you’ll be able to share with me.

Some of the greatest memories from my boys childhood were the great birthday theme parties we’d throw. I was sorting through my file drawers and came across the “family” folder. You know the folder. It’s about 6 inches thick and has everything from wedding announcements to funeral announcements to…copies of all of those birthday invitations that were saved throughout the boys youth.

Each year we’d select a “theme” for their parties. They’d help me make invitations, guest goody bags, and the supplies we needed to put on the party…all of which we purchased at the local Value Village, of course. All of which did not exceed a budget of about $10.

For example, there was the “Dinasour Dig”. We baked plastic dinosaur toys into “mud” eggs and buried them in the sand pile. As the little tikes arrived they each received a pencil box “paleontologist kit” containing a dinner knife, sandpaper, tiny brush, etc. They headed out to the “dig site”, found their egg and went to work, carefully, so as not to damage the fossil that it might contain.

My husband was most instrumental in pulling off the “Pirate’s Adventure”. Off he went to Standard Appliance on the day they’d designated he could pick up a discarded refrigerator box. It was the beginning of a day long, creative, cut and paint project for Roger and the boys. By the time the guests arrived it was complete with gang planks and pirates flag, and lots of portholes for happy faces to be photographed.

Some of the other themes were “Clowning Around”, “Water Balloon War”, “Jump for Joy”, “Blast Off!”, “J” Games, and the “OO7th Birthday”. Of course, there were a few of moms “great ideas” that got voted down. The one I’ll leave you with had “Oregon child” written all over it………

We’d have called it the “Slug Race”. We’d gather at a local day hike park. In Lake Oswego, Tryon Creek is perfectly suited. Each “slug captain” would be given a bag, gloves (for those not quite as adventuresome), and a select colored permanent marker. We’d hit the trail, each in search of their own slug.

At the end of the trail, we’d gather around a big circle drawn in the ground and set all the color marked slugs in the middle. The first slug to break through the circle would be the Champion and the Slug Captain would get a 1st place “Slug” Trophy.

It had potential written all over it. Imagine the “critter bag” party favors. Imagine the invitations. Imagine the look of the trophy. and the “slimy” birthday cake…oh, that could be remarkable.

Well, that one will have to wait for another day and another time…and maybe for a grandchild to enjoy.

Kay was an insurance adjuster and executive for 15 years, a small business owner and a teacher for 10. But, her most fulfilling work has been as a mother of her two boys. She is now looking forward to an empty nest this fall with her best friend—her husband.