Monday, July 20, 2015

Saturday's Story

So, I slept in on Saturday. I had planned on going over to Vicky’s house in the morning and digging the horseshoe pits for Yanessa’s birthday party. But, when I told her that, she said, “No, just come an hour earlier and do it then.” So, I figured they had things to do in the morning.

Sidebar: I later learned that her brother, Luis, told her that it would just involve pounding a stake at each end. Puerto Ricans just do not understand horseshoes!

So, I went to Home Depot and got a hook to hang the horseshoes on (they tend to go missing if you leave them in the field) and two three-foot lengths of 3/4-inch black pipe with end caps.

Sidebar: Yeah, I know. Regulations call for a 1-inch solid steel bar set at a forward 70 degree angle, but come on. Mine are 3/4-inch pipes with end caps, pounded in straight up in the pit and we had fun with them for years. But I couldn’t physically pull them out.

Then I went to Meijer’s. Vicky had mentioned maybe asking people to bring a dish. I gave it some thought and decided mayonnaise-based sides like potato salad would be deadly today (it was supposed to be super-hot). So, I thought their Greek pasta salad would be perfect. But, when I got to the deli counter, they were sold out of damn near everything! I’m guessing graduation parties, BTW. They apologized and directed me to a cooler out on the floor that had tubs of potato salad and coleslaw. I grabbed two tubs of coleslaw.

It was already seriously hot, BTW.

When I got home, I stripped the bedding and began the weekend wash. About noon, I took a nap on the naked bed.

I woke up and got ready for the party. I dressed in my Puerto Rican clothes as it was too hot for long pants and a shirt. Yeah, people will see all my scars, but it was just too damn hot. I also took a handkerchief.

Sidebar: we had a heat advisory posted from noon to midnight, targeting old people like me and kids. They said to stay inside in the A/C and drink lots of water. Right.

I put a shovel and a spade in the truck, along with my present and card. I also put in a box with my hand sledge, a tape measure, the horseshoes and my yellow marking paint.

I left at 3:00 p.m. (the party was officially from 5:00 p.m. to 7:00 + p.m.) Evy and Vicky were in full pre-party mode (Evy was making rice with pigeon peas and Vicky was setting up tables, etc.)

I greeted them and then ignored them all. After consulting with Vicky, I laid out the horseshoe pits next to the fence.

Sidebar: Regarding the fence, its six feet tall. Seems like overkill right?  But every house on the block has a fence and most of them are six feet tall. You do what you gotta do, I guess.

I got the first pit dug with help from my handkerchief and bottled water. But, then they fired up the bounce house. Yanessa and Myla tried it out. So, on the second pit, I was constantly interrupted by Yanessa, who kept calling, “John! John!” who wanted me to watch her bounce.

So, I did… You can’t ignore a birthday girl.

I finally finished up, sweating like a pig (I completely lost my first “fresh feeling” and my handkerchief was soaked). I used the marking paint to lay out the foul lines; three feet from the stake for ordinary players, 10 feet further for women, children and men over 70).

I tossed all four horseshoes. They broke right, but landed about 10 feet from the stake. Damn this fused spine!

Sidebar: Apparently, Vicky’s dad was watching me. He told her, “This has to be a white person’s game.” LMAO!  He’s from Ecuador, so I can’t make a Puerto Rican joke here.

People started showing up and soon the place was packed. They divided themselves into two camps (Evy even mentioned it to me): Daniel’s (Yanessa’s father and Mexican) family sat under the wood structure and Vicky’s Puerto Rican family tended toward the tent area. I, being an ambassador of peace, sat with both and frequently introduced myself.

Most of them remembered me from Yanessa’s first birthday, so I got by and I “mingled.”

Vicky’s dad and her oldest brother tried playing horseshoes. I explained the point scoring and tried to explain how you throw the horse shoes (you throw them as you step forward). Her brother got it right off. Her dad never did.  He just stood there and threw them. (Sigh) I tried… Ecuadorians…

Finally, it was time to eat.  I happened to be in the house (going to the bathroom), so I offered to carry out the rice with pigeon peas. Evy has a huge pot that she made them in.

Sidebar: I think both Jake and Carla would be jealous. I know I am! It’s like three feet wide, cast iron, with a massive lid on it.

So, I carried two big bowls of it down the stairs, one step at a time. I walk up and down stairs these days like a dork.

I went to the tent and had a long chat with Vicky’s uncle Jose about her “flip” house. Then Evy rushed up and told me I had to go and eat. Huh? She said I had to be first in line. I still don’t understand that, but I went up and got a plate of food.

I had a chicken leg, some coleslaw, a little pasta salad and a lot of rice.

Everybody followed me up, BTW. I guess I was the Judas goat.

While I was eating, I noticed there were two Detroit cops in the yard. Wow, I thought, they are taking these recent block party shooting seriously! Later I learned that one of them is dating one of the ladies at the party. She brought his kids here and they just stopped in to visit.

Finally it was time to open presents. I got what I thought was a perfect spot (it was very crowded) but then Vicky gave her phone to her cousin Karlita and asked her to take pictures for her. Now, Karlita is short, of course, but she has big boobs (seriously). She stood in front of me! So every photo I took had either her head or her boobs in it. (Sigh)

Yanessa opened my present last. Now, Vicky has asked me if I would make her a Time Out chair (it’s a stool with a five-minute hourglass timer in it). I agreed, but never found the time. So, I just bought one.

I’m sure Yanessa will not like it, but Vicky was pleased.

Then Yanessa blew out the candle on her cake. Regarding the cake, it was absolutely beautiful when the bought it in. But, they left the lid down, An errant wind flipped it up and it smashed the two Sesame Street characters faces!

Vicky, Evy and Yanessa’s other grandmother (I think her name is spelled Crisi, She’s a lovely woman and totally devoted to Yanessa) went into full cutting the cake mode.

It was almost 8:00 p.m. and I thought it was time to make my goodbyes. Both Evy and Crisi insisted I have some cake, but Vicky explained I have diabetes and can’t eat the sugar. So Evy asked if I wanted to take some rice home. Hell, yeah!

So, we went into the house and she gave me a big bowl of it to take home. I ran into her dad and shook his hand goodbye. Then I ran into Karlita. I called her Karli and she laughed at me, saying, “You just can’t get my name right, can you?”

Sidebar: I called her “Karlito” on Facebook once. In Spanish, that designates a male.

Without further ado, I left.

I got home before 8:30 p.m. I spent the next couple of hours processing my photos. I posted the best ones on the log and then went to bed.


  1. Sounds like you had a good time even though no one knows how to play horseshoes.

  2. Well, the people changed in and out, but the game was busy all day long. I was glad I thought to volunteer it.

    Now I can't decide if I should just pull up my stakes (I could do it with my bottle jack), or if I should buy more horseshoes. Maybe I could get my back to cooperate. I do like playing horseshoes, even just with myself. Been doing it since I was knee-high to a grasshopper.