LSS: Turning 50 is a field day

Screen Shot 2014-02-23 at 1.45.26 PMIn one month, I will turn 50.
Once again, I am throwing myself a party.
I learned long ago that it isn’t fair to others (specifically my husband) to meet my personal party expectations. So, I’m going all out and planning the whole thing myself. Others are helping. I am not averse to giving assignments in the planning process.
To celebrate, I’ve rented cabins at the state park near my hometown and have invited dear friends representing each of the decades and places of my life to join the fun. They are making plans to come from near and far. I am touched and honored that they are doing so.
Once there, many of them won’t know each other. So we’ll have plenty to discuss to change that, but this is not going to be a weekend of rest, relaxation and conversation.
Nope, we are going to have a field day.
My father, the master of all field days, is in charge of that portion of the weekend’s activities. For years, he served as the athletic director at the only school in the tiny town where I grew up. Beyond that, he was the town’s recreation director. Every spring, we had a field day at the school with at least 50-60 competitions. It was fun, but it was also serious business.
My dad had that thing organized. Different faculty members facilitated various activities from the sack race (which was run in heats, with the top five from each grade going on to the finals), the egg toss, the three-legged race, the baseball throw, the long jump, bubble gum blowing contest, water balloon toss and the list went on and on.
For the grand finale, every grade assembled a tug of war team. Points were tallied and the class who earned the most points was appropriately lauded. Winning was a matter of school pride. This was important stuff.
At least it was to some of us! But back then I was not aware enough to realize there were probably people who did not relish every moment of field day. I did not notice the folks who were probably simply enjoying a day away from regular classes. For me, that day was close to nirvana.
For many of us, we mapped out our day and strategized to have key people participating in the competitions we knew would give us our best odds of winning. Field days were magical.
In that spirit, I’ve asked my father to dust off his field day hat and whistle and organize another afternoon full of competition.
At first, he balked. “Jan, I really don’t know what I could organize for women half a century old,” he said.
I politely told him to figure it out. We were up to the task.
So, my friends are making their plans and preparing themselves for a field day. No, it’s not how they expected to spend the first weekend of spring this year, but they’re up for it — or at least willing to go along with it!
I believe we’ll have a good time, despite — or maybe because of — having half a century under our belts.

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