Tuesday, September 14, 2010

A Cold Day in Paradise

My dear Grandparents, of whom I've blogged before, celebrated their 25th Wedding Anniversary at Sunrise Park on Mt. Rainier in Washington State.  The year was 1969.  Several of their friends were celebrating 25th Anniversaries around the same time too.  The thing to do was formal white table cloths & rented banquet rooms; but grandpa doesn't do formal white table cloths.  My mom was just out of college and wanted to throw them a similar party.  Grandpa said that's fine, but he probably wouldn't come. 

Grandpa is not gruff, nor has he ever been rude to my knowledge.  He is warm and outgoing and easily befriends even the grumpiest of humanity, often affecting their day, if not their entire outlook, for the better.  But there are simply some things Grandpa won't do.  Dressing up and having the spot light on himself is probably at the top of his list.  My mom, his daughter, is the "Hostess with the Mostess".  She has his warmth and outgoing personality, with the talent for throwing the best parties.  Not hanging-around-drinking-beer-on-your-tailgate parties, but honest to goodness, everyone-here-is-family parties.  Perhaps "Gatherings" would be a better word.

I don't know exactly what went down next.  I'm sure my mom knew better than to press the subject.  My grandpa has never been one to say anything carelessly; if he said he wouldn't be at his own party, it wasn't idle conjecture.  "I'd go on a picnic" he said optimistically.  That was all mom needed to hear.  You want a picnic?  It will be the best picnic ever!  They invited all of their friends and family members and a tradition was born. 

The following year, the event reconvened at Paradise Park, Mt. Rainier and came to be know in our family as simply, "Paradise Picnic".  On any given year the attendance could fluctuate from a small gathering of 30 or so people to the nearly 100 that came to honor my grandparents' 50th anniversary.

I believe not a year was skipped until 2000, when the picnic was brought closer to home for easier accessibility.  This year, for the 41st Family Picnic, we returned to Paradise with new generations in tow.  It just happened to be the coldest trip to the mountain I could remember.  With temperatures scarcely reaching 40 deg. Fahrenheit, it was a short picnic!  

We left the big dogs with a friend, knowing they would have to be on a leash the whole time and would be antsy from the long car trip and lack of real exercise.   Lucy, however, is conveniently travel-sized.  Our only concern was her lack of insulation.  I remembered back to when we first found her; what a shaky little thing she was.   Not knowing just how cold it would be, we assumed a summer chill and headed for the pet store to look for *gasp* a jacket of some sort.  What had happened to me?  I went from being an exclusive BIG dog person to a 'foster' caretaker of a little dog to that lady who buys little outfits for her dog. 

At the pet store, we found a very cute pink hooded vest with a fur-trimmed hood.  Cute, yes.  But I couldn't bring myself to buy it.  For one thing, it was $20.  For another, it really wasn't that insulating.  It was much more functional than say, the "doggie says 'relax'" t-shirt next to it, but still - this was about warmth, not fashion(and a little about economics - $20 for a dog jacket??)  So we stopped in to my new favorite resource store, Value Village, where within five minutes I located a faded Baby Gap vest, size 3-6 mo.  It wasn't pink(why, again, did I care?) but I figured it should serve it's purpose. 

In the end, I don't know why I bothered quite so much.  She was hardly out of one person's arms before someone else would scoop her up. 


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