Our daughter came to the house on Sunday afternoon, dragging. She looked warmed-over-dead.
She and our son-in-law had been at the AfterProm Party. They were there until five in the morning, serving food and playing games with the kids, keeping them safe and off the streets.
I told her the kids will remember it one day and, hopefully, they will do it for their kids when they grow up. As we talked, it brought home lots of stories when our kids were in school.
Our daughter talked to Johnny Johnson this week. He told her that one of his fondest memories was when he was a kid and he went to an ice skating party we had on the Lower Blanco. That immediately opened up another conversation.
We had an old-fashioned ice skating party. We cleared the snow off the ice on our pond next to our home. Al wheeled our Victorla on a wagon down to the pond and he sat it up with a bunch of old 78 records. We planted lanterns in the snow and lit the path. We set up a table for hot chocolate and s’mores. We built a big bonfire next to the pond. We carried benches and logs for the kids to sit on. The girls wore long dresses of the 1800’s, and the guys, knickers. There were about hundred kids. Afterwards, we served chili beans, posole, chips, hot cider and lots of desserts.
Yes, it was a lot of work. But, afterwards, it seemed like nothing when we saw how much fun everyone had.
When Johnny said it was one of his fondest memories, we started remembering all the other kids who were there. If memories serves me right, some of the kids who came were Frosty Lattin, Julie and Dan Hyde, Dan and Heather Laue, Chuck Mitchell, Spencer Farrel, Linda and Laura Aldredge, Scott and Brad Marquez, Daniella Kimsey, and the list goes on. I’ve missed so many names. It was over 32 years ago.
It was like an old home week in our family as we talked about some of the wonderful memories when they were young. Of course that brought up all the other parties we had in our home. It seemed like every week we hung a long piece of butcher paper across the dining room table, with some salutation to someone and their special day. A bunch of kids rode home on the school bus with our kids and stayed for the evening. Those days seemed so innocent.
I spoke to a friend this week in Minnesota and she said they were going through their family albums and most of all their photos represented birthday parties for her five children. She said it hit her that. with all the work involved, she was the one responsible to put it all together, and it made her tired thinking about it.
I told her, oh, but the memories. I know we wonder if all the work was worth it at the time. It was and is!
Elaine Hyde and myself were constantly thinking up parties for the teenagers. A scavenger hunt was one of them. I remember picking teams, according to who could drive, and sending the teenagers out with a list of things to find. They could go any where in the town of Pagosa or the county. They had to be back at our house at a certain time. They came back laughing with lots of stories and lots of finds. Those days seemed safer back then.
Then there were the Fifth Quarter Parties. We served chili beans (again) and had table games set up in the basement of the First Baptist Church (where the Humane Thrift Store is now). The football team played in the town park across from the high school (where the junior high school is now).
Two of our good friends passed away recently. When we heard, we immediately began talking about some of the wonderful things we experienced with them.
We remembered all the wonderful times we enjoyed with Judge Hyde and his family. We spent several Christmas Eves with the Hyde family. With their four children and our four, it was always a party.
Margaret Wilson was our neighbor. She was a strong voice for our Lower Blanco. She would call me often to tell me she read my articles and to keep writing. If something needed to get done on the Lower Blanco, we called Margaret Wilson and she would put us in touch with the right source.
Those who have gone before us have been a big part in our lives. There have been some wonderful people along the way that made life a little easier for us and a little more fun. We carry good memories with us because of them. Even when I stood before Judge Hyde in his courtroom for a speeding ticket, he was fair in passing sentence on me. I had been with his wife earlier that week, but that didn’t alter his judgment according to my wrong. He was just doing his job. We all had a good laugh together later but, nonetheless, he was the judge.
It’s good to go back and remember; it seems to put everything in perspective.
So, when parents stay up all night praying or at an all-night prom party, just doing their job and trying to keep their kids safe, it might not seem like it‘s worth it, but it’s worth it later.
When one teenage boy from way back then, and all grown up now, said it was one of his favorite memories, it felt like he was saying, “It’s worth it.” Thank you, Johnny!
Final brushstroke: We have no idea who we touch along our path. We are just doing what we have been called to do. And yes, it is a lot of work, but it is worth it.
“Trust in the Lord with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding. Seek his will in all you do, and he will direct your path.” — Proverbs 3:5,6.
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