Monday, October 4, 2010

Fond Memories of Long Ago


Jake got a slip 'n slide on his fifth birthday.

Last night I came across my journal entry about Jake's fifth birthday party in September 2008 (one of the funnest parties ever). It's pretty funny, so I thought I'd share:

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Yesterday was Jake's fifth birthday party. It was held at noon on Saturday. Bun and I got Jake a slip 'n slide, and we gave him $50 in cash. We got Sophie a present too, in our dumb, indulgent Kimel tradition of un-birthdays. We gave her a little purple satin party dress for her stuffed lamb, Shearly, along with a little T-shirt with cherries on it for her stuffed cat, Tiger.

Jake was beside himself with joy on his fifth birthday. He was elated! By the time Bun and Matt and I arrived at the party, he had already peeked at all his presents. And he was wearing his swimsuit, ready for water balloon fights.

Sophie, on the other hand, was not doing so well. She was jealous because it was Jake's birthday and not hers. This first thing she did was commandeer the buffet table. It was her snack bar, she announced, and anybody who wanted anything was going to have to pay. Jake immediately went and got the 50 bucks Bun and I had given him. He was ready to hand over a twenty for a few kernels of popcorn.

"Jake," I cried. "This is your party! This is your food! You don't have to give Sophie your birthday money!"

"But I want to," he said. "I want to be nice. . . . I want to pay her just to be nice!"

Sophie closed down the snack bar after Uncle Matt took some punch without paying. She made a sign that said "CLOSED" in her crazy Sophie handwriting. ("Lez, how do you spell 'closed'?" she asked.) Then she taped the sign to the table cloth and spent 20 minutes pouting under the table. She was wearing a navy blue polka-dot bikini with ankle socks and sturdy school shoes.

"Sophie, can I play?" Jake was asking. "Sophie, can I be your helper at the snack bar?"

"No," Sophie said.

"We don't have to listen to Sophie," I said to Jake. "Sophie's not the boss of us. How about we be customers?"

"How about we be married?" Jake said. "You can be my wife."

"Sounds great," I said. And I began playing my role: "Husband, I wonder why the snack bar is closed. I'm famished. I suppose the woman working here is extremely lazy."

"Yes, dear," Jake said. "Would you like me to get you a wittle something? Would you like me to get you a wittle popcorn?" (Jake can't pronounce L's.)

"Yes," I said. "That would be wonderful. Perhaps we should bang on the door. I suppose the woman is sleeping. You know how lazy snack bar workers are."

But Sophie was pouting and refused to sell us anything. She sat under the table in her swimsuit and shoes. I encouraged Jake to take pictures of her butt with his new digital camera. I didn't suggest that he do this--it was all Jake's idea. But I did support him. He was showing me his pictures and I was complimenting him on his composition. Matt was also egging him on: "Her senior year, here's what you do: You take out a full-page ad in the yearbook."

Jake was taking pictures of Sophie's butt and his grandparents' butts and just laughing and yukking it up. I was trying to take pictures of him when he was laughing because he looked so lovely, just so tickled.

Kris and Mom were setting up Jake's new slip 'n slide in the front yard. Jake came out with his new camera. He came skipping out in his joyous fashion to join in the slip 'n sliding fun.

"Where have you been, Jake?" Kris asked. "Are you having fun at your party?"

Matt was smoking a cigarette under a pine tree: "He's been walking around taking pictures of Sophie's butt for the last half hour."

Jake was being so cute. He and Sophie were riding down the slip 'n slide on their inner tubes. Jake was having so much fun. In every picture I took, he's wearing this expression of just complete unbridled joy. Drops of water are flying and he's got the most infectious smile--a completely natural smile.

After a while we went inside and opened presents and ate tons of food. Kris had the best food at Jake's birthday party. There was barbecue tofu, vegan macaroni and cheese, cheesy spoonbread, collards, watermelon and Concord grapes, chips, popcorn, iced tea, punch, a fruit tart, and birthday cake!

Sophie took down the "closed" sign and posted a new sign, taping it to the table cloth. ("Lez, how do you spell 'open'?" she had asked.)

"This is my snack bar," she announced. "And nobody can take anything. I have to serve it! And you have to pay!"

Jake and I resumed our roles as husband and wife and habitual snack bar patrons.

"Dear," Jake was saying (he kept calling me "dear"--so hilarious). "Care for some cherries, dear? How about some chips? They are a-little-hot chips. . . ."

"Oh, thank you, husband," I said.

I joined Bun and Matt at the dining room table. Jake wanted to sit right next to me--I mean, like one inch away from me. "Because we are married," he explained.

Bun joined in the game. "Oh my, your husband certainly is attentive," she remarked to me. "Some would say clingy, but certainly not me."

"Husband," I said, "I think that woman is jealous. She always wanted to marry you."

"I'm not jealous," Bun responded. "I'm only happy for you. How long have you two been married?"

"We got married on my birthday!" Jake announced merrily.

"It was a wonderful way for him to celebrate," I said. "I mean, marrying me--what a wonderful gift to give to yourself."

"And how old are you?" Bun asked Jake.

"I'm five," he said.

"And how old are you, ma'am?" Bun asked me.

"Only a trifle older, but anyway, age is just a number as they say!"

Jake chimed in: "Who cares if I'm five? I'm still cute!"

"He certainly is," I said. I whispered to Jake, "She's just jealous because she wants a young, cute husband."

Sophie sat down with us, but in a grumpy sort of way.

"Are you married?" I asked her.

"No," she said testily.

"I'm sorry," I said. I whispered to Jake, "Oh great, now she's going to be jealous of me too."

"I'm not jealous," Sophie said. "I don't want to be married. I'm only 14."

"Hmmm," I said, "and working full time at the snack bar? Well, you're certainly a successful little lady."

"Perhaps you're jealous because she has a career," Bun said.

"Of course not," I said. "I'm very happy staying home looking after my husband."

"I stay home too," Jake announced in his merry way.

"Hmmm," Bun said. "What a unique situation with both the husband and the wife at home . . ."

Jake cried, "Dear, what do you think my first baby will look like?" But he didn't wait for us all to stop laughing and give him an answer. He said, "I hate babies! I really hate babies! They cry and cry! Don't you hate babies, Matt?"

"Yes, they're delicious," Matt said. ". . . . Oh, I thought you asked if I ate babies. . . ." (Matt's always a good one for the old man jokes.)

Bun started complimenting Jake and winking at him and making flirty eyes.

"Husband," I said, "I think that horrible woman is trying to steal you away! I knew she was jealous!"

Bun was doing little waves at Jake across the table, and blowing kisses.

Jake was making throat-slashing motions at her. He was such a loyal little husband. He was really wonderful in every way. He raised his fork at her.

"Dear," he said to me sweetly, "I'm going to kill her. Do you want me to kill her?"

"Oh no, that won't be necessary, dear," I said, "though it's very sweet of you to offer. I just want to see her publicly humiliated."

Kris came into the room and started ordering Jake to finish his peanut butter sandwich . (Yes, Jake was eating a peanut butter sandwich on his birthday.)

"So, how are the in-laws?" Bun asked me in her catty way.

"Well, his mother's a little overbearing," I said.

Oh, it was a great party!


Sophie serving punch at her snack bar before she shut the place down


Jake admiring the butt shots he got with his new digital camera



I have never seen anyone so happy to be turning five.

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