This last weekend I made a trek up to Portland Oregon to celebrate my great Aunt Bertie's anniversary of her 29th birthday (at least she would want me to put it that way). It was a surprise party none the less. Lots of colorful presents, cards, and the usual assortment of decorations. What I find is after enough anniversaries of your 29th birthday the party conversation quickly turns to who is still alive and what medical problems they have, at which point my brain goes into virtual iPod listening mode. The sign on my face says "shop closed, re-opening at 9am." Guess it take a few anniversaries to appreciate the ambient tune.
Then again, we photogs are supposed to be enterprising, yes? I can just see it now: geriatric trading cards!
"I've got gall stones." "Oh yeah? I'll trade you for a arthritic knee." "No way ya old putz. Add in a goiter and you've got a deal." "Know anyone with the golden card, you know, the broken hip?" "Haven't heard of one of those in 40 years. It might just be a urban legend." Etc...etc...etc.
Mom had pre-negotiated my presence and picture taking quota. Not sure, but the Southwest flight itinerary might have been considered a legal contract for image delivery. I looked at this as an opportunity to create a nice family photo essay.
Bertie is the last of her siblings. Growing up in the mid-west (North Dakota, can I get a holla?!) her family was of course large and her parents made an agricultural based living. I remember my grandma telling me stories about growing up as "dirt farmers" in North Dakota during the depression, but somehow those tough old Germans got by and survived. It's even been rumored that my grandma and Bertie were two of the wilder redheads in town. Bertie is still a kick so I believe it, despite the more comfortable, and appreciably pink, fuzzy clothing she commonly adorns now days.
So what do you get a woman who has almost everything? A frog prince of course. I didn't ask if the age of the handsome prince scales with birthday anniversaries. Knowing Bertie it might even be a slightly inverse relationship.
OK, OK... so she got a Kindle too. Someone had to get her something so she could be considered the cool grandma.
What's more important that birthday presents? Birthday cake...duh! Growing up I had the pleasure of chomping down on more than a few Beaverton Bakery cakes. This one was especially delightful since there's been about a 10 year gap in my Beaverton based cake consumption (Mom...check if they Fedex). About 10 minutes later I started sweating and passing out from the high glycemic load and insulin shock of butter cream and white cake filling. So worth it.
At some point later that evening they ran out of people to talk about with medical issues, so it turned into a picture review party. I had a few people breathing down my neck while sorting and pre-processing raw images on my mom's Macbook. Karen (sitting on the couch) brought her Canon G10 and Sharon had her Nikon DSLR, so plenty of coverage. One person even had printed family photos - whoa, they still do exist! No one even took out an annoying camera phone (a triumph!).
Sunday was a bit of a rougher day, narrative-ly speaking, but more on that in the next blog entry.