Celebrating Life and Change

September 30th, 2009

Goodness has the weather changed.  Awoke to low-forties this morning and we put on a that first fall jacket.  That’s saying a lot for me… yet it feels so good!  Finished a host of chores over the past few days and an incredibly busy weekend.  It was the young one’s birthday of course, and it was a great day for him.

We shared a beautiful sunrise early one morning…


He never really had a big birthday party, and it was time.   Well, except for that preschool class party to that really sticky pizza place… we won’t go there right now.  That was four years ago I think.  This year it was an outdoor party at a small park near the school, and his class was invited to join the fun.   More than half the class came on a Friday after school and it was a grand celebration. The park was setup, and I walked a dozen kids there from the school to the great amusement of the principal watching me with a gaggle of third-graders.   But that’s okay, I’m pretty good with kids… but there were a lot of them! The party quickly became a sunny cacophony of school kids with genuine smiles and excitement.  We played balloon and three-legged races, pin-the-tail-on-the-donkey and a host of other outdoor fun with cake and ice cream.   The highlight was smashing the pinata!

The boy gets in line for the first go-around with fifteen kids lined up behind him.


This wasn’t just any pinata mind you… no siree, it was homemade!  Looking like a rainbow death star, this thing was nearly indestructible.  Put together with a team effort, (twice after the cat punctured the balloon inside the first soggy ball), the boy and I painted the outside with all sorts of pretty colors.  It was filled with a couple pounds of candy and 15+ kids took turns whacking it with the broomstick.  And yes, some of the kids nearly whacked the other kids but we tried to keep ’em back enough… not easy to do with so many candy-hungry feet scrambling around.

I’ve only seen “pinata bashing” a few times before.  Seems like it’s  more popular these days, although I’m not a fan of the newfangled “pull-string” pinatas at the stores.  Have you seen them?   They are less dangerous, no whacking stick involved… and with society’s zeal to protect our children (or ourselves in preventing legal entanglement perhaps), each kid gets a turn at reaching up and pulling the pinata string, and some lucky boy or girl randomly pulls the trap door open to let out the prizes.  I’m sure it’s fine for the kids- they don’t know the difference.  We’re still of the “smashing the pinata” persuasion however, and enjoyed watching the kids swing the broomstick.

I held the rope on a pulley (the thing weighed about 20 pounds), and we quickly discovered how solidly built it was.  “Whack!  Thump!  Whump!” it sounded as each kid gave it a few swings.   That pinata made it through more than 20 turns, gradually falling apart, before I finally yanked it hard enough to dump the candy out, raining all over as the kids scrambled to fill goody bags.  They seemed well-rehearsed to the pinata ritual, and it was fun to watch.   After leaving the park that day I felt really good for the boy, and he was all smiles.   We were tired and hoarse, and hoping once is enough…

As if the big kids party wasn’t enough, the next day we held our annual Cub Scout carnival with a host of different kids at a different park…   The highlight of the carnival for me was hosting the bubble gum pie eating contest- an extension of his birthday party game.  You gather 8-10 kids at a big table, place a piece of bubble gum on a pie plate, cover it generously with whip cream and the first few kids to get to the gum using only their mouth and blowing a bubble win a prize.  Unbeknownst (is that really a word?!) to most of the kids, the sugar in the whip cream combines with the bubble gum sugars and makes it a gooey mess that is reeaally hard to make a bubble with.  The kids loved the game and we did it three times with a huge group of them.

The weekend finished with a quiet afternoon BBQ.   Lots of memories, especially for the youngster.   Along the way there was always time to appreciate the beauty of the world around us-

The last of the goldenrod is still beautiful…


And the pond!  It was a bright green color in a few places, with a light microscopic algae bloom after last week’s rain… we don’t see that color very often.


When the wind blows, the light scatters over the surface of the water…  it only happens in autumn with the afternoon sun moving southward.  When the leaves begin changing it’s almost magical.  Maybe it is… it sure feels that way.


I wandered around yesterday looking up through the canopy of green leaves. There are changes everywhere, and we have enjoyed the dappled shade this year.


The leaves will be gone soon, coming again in six or seven months. At breakfast this morning the boy was playing with a small hourglass. He wondered how someone decided what particular time would be measured by the sand, before clocks were invented. That’s a bit of history I need to learn.  We talked about how the seasons, and our lives, each have their time.  Like the sands of the hourglass… maybe it sounds trite, but it’s so very true.

5 Responses to “Celebrating Life and Change”

  1. Ed

    The last two lines almost sounded like a voice over for a soap opera intro.

    I’ve made a few pinatas over the years and without fail, they are over built. I guess I have a hard time judging the strength of paper strips and plaster of paris. It seems we always had to move from broomsticks to baseball bats to once a sledge hammer wielded by me.

  2. I too like to think of there being seasons of life. And each one has its own pleasures.

    My eldest is taking physics now, and their first assignment was to create a clock, which could not be a sundial or an hourglass. They came up with some interesting apparati!

    Happy Birthday to your boy. Sounds like he had a great time at his party.

  3. That is a profound question the Boy asked about the hourglass. It shows some abstract thinking going on.

  4. R. Sherman

    The good thing about pinatas at kids’ parties, is there’s always the change for the inadvertent groin shot which will make a zillion dollars on “America’s Funniest Home Videos.”


  5. Ed- Something about the strength of that sphere? We were trying to avoid the baseball bats!
    Edelweiss- Sounds like a neat physics class, and would be fascinating to see what they’ve made.
    Pablo- He does have some amazing insights and thoughts; it’s especially engaging when he gets this serious look on his face with jelly all over his mouth :)
    Randall- Oh boy, we almost came close a couple of times. Stopping the pinata game until they backed up seemed to work pretty well!

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