Before I start here, I would like you all to note – shoot, I’m going to write this later. Pfffft. I’m taking a walk.
I wrote that a couple days ago. I seriously needed a break from the internet. I think I’m ready to write now, right now. What I wanted you to note was that this is my one-hundredth post. [Note from 2017: Not any more. I’ve taken a lot down on grounds of being of no interest to anyone.] Even were it not, it would be a significant milestone.
Today, class, we’re going to talk about my graduation party. There were two parts to it. The first part was a krokay party. I invited my friends Tara, Matt, Keith, and Aaron. I sent instructions to meet at an obscure turnout off a road in Winton Woods. I showed up a while ahead of time and hiked into the woods to set up the course – a twelve-wicket course this time, instead of a regular nine-wicket course. Here are handy diagrams, for no especially good reason:
Dots are stakes. Little lines are wickets. The captions are the names of the various wickets and stakes. Arrows indicate direction of travel. Duh. The “POISON” at the end means that now, you’ve finished the course, and you’re poison, as will be described forthwith. When I came back to the turnout at noon, I found Tara wandering around in a dry creekbed. She said she’d gotten there really early and seen me plunge into the woods, but hadn’t gotten out of her car quick enough to catch up to me before I disappeared, so she’d just kind of wandered aimlessly around the creekbed for a while. I walked up to the turnout; she elected to stay behind and wander a while longer. No one showed up for about fifteen minutes, so I walked down and asked to borrow Tara’s cell phone. I called Matt, Aaron, and Keith: Matt was on his way; Aaron had completely forgotten; Keith had completely forgotten and was, additionally, at work. I walked back up and found Matt arriving, so we had a three-person game, in anticipation of a four-person game later, upon Aaron calling back, which he said he would do.
The course was truly something spectacular. This course is situated at the top of a lovely hill deep in the forest about 150 yards from a trail. The hilltop is flat and strewn with a luxurious collection of fallen trees, standing trees, divots, bumps, stumps, and sticks. It’s all covered with a light, unintrusive layer of dead leaves to set the mood. We each picked out a ball and put it through the starting wicket to begin. And then we took off. Tara gained an early lead when she made it through both starting wickets in one shot, which Matt and I failed at; as such, she was able to knock her ball halfway to the first right wicket in her first turn. We soon caught up, though, and all proceeded to get lost in the complex structure of sticks and logs in which I had placed that wicket. We moved on, some of us faster than others, to the first center wicket, for which you have to hit your ball under a log. This shouldn’t’ve been too challenging, but Matt had difficulty. The next wicket, the second right wicket, wasn’t too challenging, nestled against a long log. I like the second center wicket: it’s right between a big tree and a little tree, and there’s almost a little pathway leading to it. The third right wicket was difficult simply because it was tough to find where it was. I realized too late that I’d been hitting my ball in a totally wrong direction. Near this wicket, there was a fallen tree that, if you looked at it from the right angle, looked eerily like a giant moray eel in full ambush posture. No lives were lost, however, as we moved on to the turn wickets. I had thoughtfully left the turn stake directly in front of a dark, forbidding hole in the base of a tall tree, but nobody managed to get their ball into it, which frankly is a shame, because it would have been pretty funny to watch someone try to get their ball out of a tree using the end of their mallet. Around this time Aaron called and asked for directions. We pointed him to the turnout. The leaders at the time – I think they were Matt and me – pushed forward to the first left wicket, while Tara stayed behind, not having gotten past the turn stake. Aaron called a few more times. When he called us for the final time, he was already in deep woods, and told us he was going to find us by echolocation. So he yelled, and then I did. Amazingly, we only had to do this about three times before he came brushing through the undergrowth from a completely different angle than I expected. He couldn’t join in the game, but he did start refereeing for us. We came back through the second center wicket, and found the second left wicket underneath a folded tree, and then came back through the first center wicket. When we play here, I like to perch the third left on the edge of the flat part of the hill, so that if you miss it, your ball will roll all the way down and you’ll have to spend several turns knocking it back up to the top. I approached it first, and managed to get through it unscathed. While I headed off to the exit wickets with sinister ambitions of becoming poison, Tara fell down the hill. Matt didn’t, and came hot on my heels, but I drove through the exit wickets, finishing the course and becoming a poison free agent. Matt was nearby, so I immediately hit his ball and knocked him out of the game. He was less than pleased, but accepted it as a tragic turn of fate. Aaron provided a running commentary as I looked for Tara, who was still coming back up the hill. Things took a turn for the ugly when she slipped back down and I followed her. Suddenly, she had poison prospects. It was a race back up to the top. If she made it to the exit wickets, we would have a double poison game that could potentially go anywhere in the park. She made it uphill just a turn before me, but before she could get to the finish line, I stopped her and won the game by knocking her out.
Unfortunately, we had heard thunder, so we had to go without a second game, which left Aaron feeling sleighted by nature. We headed back to my house for phase two of the party. This was a traditional “party” party. Most of you reading this blog were there, so I don’t need to elaborate much. Karl was over laboriously making enough food to feed a reasonably sized army, except that Karl’s food would make an army man, accustomed to MREs, weep with pleasure. Ribs, chicken, grilled corn on the cob, all in almost obscene quantities. We still have plenty of leftovers in the freezer; we won’t need to go out to eat for a while. I just want to note that, over the course of the day, we had this many people: Mom Dad Micah Me Matt Aaron Tara Kristen Rosie Bryce Grandma Grandpa Dave Sierra Hayden Jazmin Dan Tracy Mike Tami Jackie Nana Papaw Martha Jeff Tawnya Kyle Karl Lt.-Taylor James James Arianna. I think there may be a few more that I’m missing. That there is 32.
In addition to several hilarious or sentimental cards (Dan, Rosie, Dave, Grandma and Grandpa) I got gifts. Martha gave me a handy MiniMaglite. Mike and Tami gave me a Grinnell hoodie. Jeff and Tawnya gave me a Wal*Mart gift card. Dave gave me some money. Grandma and Grandpa gave me a handwritten coupon good for one free computer, which I really need to get around to deciding what computer I want to get. I’ll do that by Friday, Grandma and Grandpa. And Nana and Papaw gave me a spectacular quilt that Nana sewed for me out of a bunch of different plaids. I love plaids. The quilt is flannel and it’ll be really warm and great on cold Iowa nights.
And finally, I played a bunch of games of krokay in our backyard, which, though not quite as extreme as the hilltop earlier, was fairly extreme, because it’s a hill. Aaron got to play, and I’ve also gotten Bryce hooked on the fine sport that is krokay. I won a game, Dan won two, and I don’t remember who won the fourth. People gradually left. Finally, it was just Matt and Bryce left. We watched some comedians, and then they left too, and we the residents, too lethargic from all the food to do much cleaning, mostly sat around or went to bed. It was pretty much the best party ever.
I should have written about graduation here, before writing about the party, but I didn’t, and now I’m not going to, so I’ll save it for another post. I’ll also post some pictures of stuff that happened. Now, I’m-a go to bed.