By Jody Worsham
All rights reserved for Tie-Downs
I have been told that the wind blows in East Texas. I have even seen the tops of the pine trees moving from time to time, most notably when Hurricane Katrina came through. Yesterday I fully and totally experienced a wind storm in East Texas as we celebrated the five-year-old's birthday/hurricane party in the park. I calculated the wind to be around thirty-nine knots. This is the number of tangles I combed out the nine-year-old's long hair last night.
Normally we do not have wind blowing in my part of the state, but yesterday either the hole in the ozone layer opened up and created a draft or the trees had yet to spread enough of their wind blocking leaves, because it felt like a gale. We had rented one of those giant inflatable jumping houses and slides for the party. I knew we were in trouble when the guy started unloading extra sandbags to weight the thing down. "Don't worry, I'll position it so that it heads into the wind," he said. I had visions of small children being stuck at the top of the slide unable to slide down because of the wind pressure. I flashed back to a Nat Geo program explaining how heavy airplanes were able to fly into the wind and could imagine the children lifting off, bound for Oz.
Red four foot long strips of crepe paper streamers stretched out to eight feet after being tied to the picnic pavilion posts. Red plastic tablecloths billowed up like sails making the area resemble some kind of new age Buddhist-Temple-Carnival. Ice chests and plastic bins placed on top only partially held down the table cloths.
When the little guests arrived, they held onto the posts with one arm as they handed the gift bags over with the other. Presents had to be placed under the table to keep them from becoming unguided missile bags. The bouncy house stabilized somewhat with the added weight of the children.
My plan was to have the children decorate their own cupcakes as part of the party fun. With bowls of colored sugars, sprinkles, and crushed cookies taped to the table, the party goers gathered around to decorate their very own cupcake. The ones that were seated downwind did not have to do anything. They just held up their cupcake and collected all the blowing sugar dust from those sitting upwind. To console those children sitting upwind with naked cupcakes, I passed out bubble wands.
Blowing bubbles should have kept them busy for at least fifteen minutes. Because of the wind, the children had but to dip their wand in the bubble mixture and hold it up. For about thirty seconds the park resembled Sponge Bob's underwater park. That was it, no more bubbles, but the ever creative children turned the empty bubble wands into light sabers which I quickly confiscated before Darth Vader (a.k.a. the birthday boy) had anyone in tears.
I had Styrofoam cups and a three gallon drink dispenser filled with lemonade and ice for the thirsty bouncers. The children, after gulping their lemonade, left a small portion in their cups for the lemonade god and placed them on the table. Unfortunately for the four adults holding down the corners of the table cloth, no one was holding down the tributes to the lemonade god. All adults received wet lemonade blessings.
It was time at last to sing the birthday song, blow out the candle, and open the presents. The song was barely heard over the wind. It was pointless to even attempt to light the #6 birthday candle so I held my finger up behind the #6 and symbolically tucked it into my fist when he "blew out" the candle. Lame I know, but short of a blow torch nothing was going to stay lit today. The presents were opened sending a tornado of colored tissue paper whirling threw the air. Party favors were retrieved from their secure holding places beneath the table and passed out. The wind burned party guests and their lemonade drenched parents went home.
After we got home and I was unloading the party aftermath, I overhead the children talking.
"This was the best party ever. Did you see the way the table cloths were flying all over the place?" said the birthday boy.
"And the cups sailing through the air …." chimed in the giggling nine-year-old.
"And the Mom's squealing when they got lemonade on them..."
"Yeah," replied the nine-year-old, "I hope the wind blows like this at my birthday party."
I'll be sure to check the Doppler radar map before scheduling her party. Maybe something along the lines of "Sleet and heaving icing" will add to the party fun!