In Girl Scouts, we sang "Make new friends, but keep the old. One is silver and the other gold." This past weekend was spent with both silver and gold friends. It started with gold friends Kevin (our 41-year-old son), Jessica (his wife of 14 years), and their son Ian, 10. I went up to watch Ian's gymnastic meet near Seattle on Saturday. It was his first time to compete.
Ian is on the Northshore Gymnastic Team. He competed in Trampoline and Double-Mini. I had never heard of Double-Mini before nor seen it. It's a ramped up and down trampoline just a short distance off the floor. The gymnast runs fast up the ramp and leaps on the middle, bouncing high up and off the other side with a twist or flip or whatever his/her level calls for. (Ian is Level 4, whatever that means.)
I know it looks like Ian has no legs, but they are tucked under him after he bounced on the mini-double. You can watch him doing his routine here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FDnYBSIhXqs
Ian scored 28.0 out of 30.0 points which another parent told us was very good. I was clueless about the scoring but it looked good to me. At least, I know there's no way I could do it. Before the next meet I attend, I hope to get better informed so I understand what's going on.
The trampoline was a huge, double trampoline. The kids, Ian told us, could pick whichever side they wanted to perform on. Competition starts when a child reaches Level 3. The levels go up to 9 or 10 or something (didn't figure that out either). I thought Level 4 looked difficult enough. Here's Ian: (no, he didn't fall, he bounced on his back then back up on his feet. He also bounced on his seat then twisted in mid air to bounce on his seat the other direction then back up to his feet. Like I said, Level 4 looked difficult enough to me.) Watch his routine here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pKLIL9INw1k
Another thing I didn't understand was who was competing against whom. There were five teams (I think) in the competition. The kids competed against others of their level and, I think, gender. However, it worked, Ian got blue ribbons in both his events. Here he is, back home, still in his Northshore uniform, dutifully posing for Grandma's camera in front of the refrigerator with his ribbons before having a bowl of his mom's wonderful chili. After all that exercise, he was hungry!
On Sunday, gymnastic meet over, we stayed at Traumhof and caught the second day of the David Blake dressage clinic. As always, it was wonderful and I learned (at least temporarily) lots. This was the day for "silver" friends. I don't know when I've ever been to a barn where the staff and boarders and trainer... and horses!... are so happy and friendly. It was fun to see all these newish friends I've made there. And to watch David work his magic with the riders and their horses. He taught while sitting on the sidelines part of the time, but also in the arena when appropriate. Here he is helping a horse understand the passage rhythm. And he couldn't resist tuning up for the new owner a horse that he had trained to Grand Prix and then sold. David obviously still loves this horse.
Early Monday morning, very early, I left Traumhof and headed for Seattle to see "gold" friends Woody and Martha. We've been friends with Martha since before Kevin was born. She married Woody, her husband of 30 years now, some ten years later. I arrived in the dark and took a nap in the car until they were stirring. Why I can't sleep past 4 a.m. when I'm away from home is a mystery, but I can't, so I get up and do something like... drive into Seattle. I certainly have no traffic to worry about at that hour.
When the day began to lighten, I walked around their property and took photos. It's hard to believe they live inside Seattle. I don't know how many lots they have but the way the hills and trees are positioned, not another house is visible from theirs... nor is the road. A bike path, screened by trees, borders one side of their property. They have a woodshed that is a work of art as is Woody's tool shed, carport, and every other building on the place. Woody is a master with wood. He built the Camp Denali log buildings in Alaska and was invited back for the 50th anniversary, all expenses paid. He and Martha have again been invited this coming summer, all expenses paid, for the 60th anniversary of the founding of Camp Denali.
Here is their Seattle house...
Woody is now 88 years old but you couldn't tell it to look at him. They still heat with wood, grow a big garden, and play music. Woody plays the hammer dulcimer, among other instruments. Martha plays viola and violin. They have been playing together in a folk dance band for many years. Martha plays in other musical groups as well.
A sign hanging in their bathroom epitomizes their outlook on life. Golden words from golden friends...