Thursday, December 18, 2008

A wonderful 70th birthday

Saturday and Sunday I had 3 wonderful parties to celebrate my 70th birthday. Considering my diagnosis of advanced cancer in September of 2004 I didn't expect to be here to see my 70th birthday. Of course I'm delighted to still be here.

Party number 1 was the family party where my children and grandchildren (most of them) arrived in the late morning for a lunch party.

My grandaughter Erin with her new puppy Abby (a Swedish Valhund).
My son Chris and his son Christopher came for the family party.

Eli and Gabriel, my youngest grandchildren, watched the preperations for our lunch.

David and my daughter Frances joined in the family fun.

Erin made a chocolate cake. There weren't enough candles so Margie cut it into a 7 (seven) and a 0 (zero), which showed my age, and looked very pretty too.

Party number 2 was a collection of friends that have been loyal field trip buddies, pot luck regulars, that share with me a love of outdoor educations (sometimes called "informal science education") who come to the ranch on a regular basis and swim, educate children, and enjoy the friendship of nature lovers.

A group of friends (including Dr. Chuck Sexton, a Biologist with U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Rita Matthews, a nurse, and her husband David Matthews, a middle school teacher who brings his students on field trips to the ranch, and works with Mary Kay Sexton as a teacher and counselor at the Bamberger Adventure Camp each June), stayed in the kitchen to chat with me.

Mary Kay led the group in singing a song to the tune of My Favorite Things from The Sound of Music. She wrote new words to it and named it "Margaret's Favorite Things".

Jerry Gatlin, J David and Chris Johnson were visiting on the gallery when I took this picture.

Sallie Delahoussaye, an educator who tells our students about rehabilitation of hawks and other birds of prey. She gave me as a "birthday present" the chance to be the person to release a young red tailed hawk that had been injured by a car. His injuries have healed, and he is ready to live in the wild again. She gave me some protective gloves, and handed me the bird and made sure that that I held his talons so they can't hurt me. (Photo by Jerry Gatlin).

I was thrilled by the opportunity to hold such a powerful and beautiful bird. (Photo by Chris Johnson)

As the hawk senses the opportunity to fly free he lifts his wings which causes me to close my eyes in response. (Photo by Jerry Gatlin)

Realizing that the bird was ready to fly away, I did the only thing that made sense to me at that moment, which was to throw the bird into the air in front of me. Chris Johnson caught the moment with his camera.

A Ring-tailed Cat ( a close cousin of the racoon) was captured in some one's attic, and was brought to Sallie's rehab facility. He is now ready to resume life in the wild. Sallie opened the door and he cautiously checked out the big world outside the cage. (Photo by Jerry Gatlin).

He decided that it is time to make his escape and got ready to leap out. (Photo by Jerry Gatlin).

The final photo of his rush to freedom is the end of his tail. He ran to a nearby truck and climbed up into the engine compartment. We left him and the truck, and when we returned we couldn't find him anywhere in the truck, so we assumed that he finally took off. (Photo by Jerry Gatlin).

Dr. Jose Lopez (my cancer doctor) and his friend Rhonda came out in in the late afternoon with a fabulous angel food birthday cake, topped with whipped cream, raspberries, blackberries, and blueberries. (Photo by Jo Swann)

The evening ends with a trailer ride to the "Kiva" where a fire is lit in a shallow BBQ pit. The Kiva was originally a cistern, and with the addition of a door and a rock seat around the interior, it has now been converted to a fire circle, outdoor classroom, or a place to sit and enjoy your friends by a fire. (Photo by Jo Swann)

The wind blew hard, and it seemed to whirl around the kiva and sends the flames blowing first in one direction, and then in the other.

The full moon peaked out of the clouds and lit the scene from time to time. It was very romantic and kind of spooky too.

Sunday night we had a "staff birthday party" at the home of Scott Grote and his family. A party is a special event for all of us. We enjoy working together, but it is nice to have fun together too!

This poem which I like very much, was written by Emma Verzwyvelt, a student at Clint Small Middle School when she visited Selah on a class field trip. She was in the 7th grade when she wrote this poem.

Serene as heaven, peaceful it is
ven cloudy, the lake still shines
ovely flower fragrance in the breeze
An everlasting rustle in the trees
ow can you love the sound of silence so much?

Photos were taken by me unless otherwise indicated.


Astreil said...

I wish you all the happiness n the years to come. Happy Birthday,
aka Astreil

Charles said...

Congratulations and Happy Birthday.
I look forward to and enjoy each new blog posting.