Camping by Lake Constance in Friedrichshafen, southern Germany in July 1997
In the summer of 97, we left The French Alps and headed north arriving in the Burgundy region of France on August 12th. By then we were very adept at erecting our frame tent and arranging its interior for sleep and temporary living. It was all about teamwork. Surrounded by vineyards, we set up camp on a small, peaceful site just outside the historic city of Beaune.
That night I was feeling quite bad about our son Ian because his thirteenth birthday was the very next day. There would be no party or fun time with friends. Instead he was miles from anywhere in the heart of France with his family.
We had one or two small gifts to give him but when Shirley retired to our sleeping compartment for the night, I resolved to stay up with several pieces of A4 paper and a felt tipped pen. By the light from our gas lamp, I created a special birthday greeting that I affixed to an old washing line just outside the tent doorway.
And this is what our darling boy saw when he arose from his slumbers as a teenager twenty two years ago:-
And along with the previous two posts, that my friends is pretty much all I remember about our European road trip in 97. Many details have evaporated completely. For example, I have no memory whatsoever of any of the campsite shower and toilet blocks that I must have visited. And no memory of what we cooked or ate or where we went shopping but bizarrely I can remember a praying mantis on the spindly tree just behind Ian in the picture above. We watched this curious creature for several minutes. Yes he or she has remained with me when so many other memories and images have, it seems, disappeared for good.
You're very kind Dad to think of your son and produce the surprising banner. I'm sure Ian remembers it well.ReplyDelete
I wonder what kind of dad you were Red. I bet you ruled with an iron fist.Delete
I love the birthday banner and I'll bet Ian did, too. What a thoughtful dad you are.ReplyDelete
Thank you Jennifer. I have tried my best.Delete
It's strange the things we remember and the things we forget.ReplyDelete
We have no control over which memories are retained and which are lost.Delete
How nice of you to make this surprise for Ian. I bet he will always remember it. Memory is indeed a strange thing.ReplyDelete
I will have to ask him about that.Delete
Human memory is very selective and often completely unreliable. Having pictures (and blog posts or diary entries) helps, of course.ReplyDelete
I love the birthday garland - a great idea, and I imagine it was very much appreciated by Ian, too.
I hope it made his birthday a bit more special.Delete
What a wonderful birthday greeting - one he'll always remember. Did everyone (fellow Brits) break into song and wish him Happy Birthday?ReplyDelete
There are a lot of praying mantis here, and I've become used to them over the years, but the first time I saw one, I wondered what on earth it was.
Funny that I immediately recognised a locust, they blow across from Africa) something that must have stuck in my subconscious from years ago. When I was about 12, the school went to the local cinema to see a film of locusts decimating the crops in Africa.
I bet some of those Spanish blokes behave like the praying mantis CG? And you an innocent ladybird.Delete
YP. I think it's the females who practice cannibalism of their mate.Delete
I must protest Graham! Coppa's Girl has never behaved like a praying mantis!Delete
That's a pretty darn good birthday prezzie in my book.ReplyDelete
It cost nothing but an hour of wakefulness and a dollop of love.Delete
It's the latter that counts!Delete
Ian looks quite pleased in that photo. It must have made him feel quite special.ReplyDelete
He didn't know what to say. The banner stayed up till sundown that day.Delete
What a great way to make Ian's birthday memorable! I love that you got a picture of him with the sign, too. As for the praying mantis, it obviously made a big impression on you. It IS funny what sticks in the memory.ReplyDelete
I had to get him between the "Y" and the "I"... Next time I see him I am going to quiz him on what he remembers of that holiday.Delete
I have 6 siblings. We all remember things very different. The beauty of that is that we get to build a more complete picture, filling in each others gaps.ReplyDelete
Enjoy the day.
Sometimes I wonder if our memories are partly fictional - honed and altered by the mysterious workings of the human brain.Delete
Funny how the mind works, isn't it?ReplyDelete
What a beautiful birthday tribute to your son that was!
For some reason I started putting up my children's name on the wall on their birthdays a long time ago. I taped up strips of crepe paper to spell them out. It was our tradition. I suppose you and I both were simply searching for a way to make the birthday child feel special.
Special. Yes. That's it.Delete
Aw. Mr pudding, you old softy. 😀ReplyDelete
Shhh! Don't tell anybody! My street-cred would nosedive!Delete
Very resourceful of you, though I have to wonder why you had that many sheets of paper on a camping trip - the writer in you? :)ReplyDelete
Becoming a teenager is often a special time and it's nice for Ian that you found a way to mark the occasion.
Why did we have so much paper? Well - you never know what might be missing when you visit a toilet block in France!Delete
And, I'll bet that's a birthday Ian has not forgotten, and will never forget. What a fun idea your greeting was. :)ReplyDelete