Sunday, December 16, 2007

My most unique birthday, ever, on Dec. 12, 2007 ... and it's not because I turned 60!

Our new Portland friends, Fred and Lori, participate in the Christmas Ship Parade on the Columbia River, which is in between Oregon and Washington. They invited us to join the fun, and I was thrilled to pick the evening of my 60th birthday for our ride.

Here Fred is walking and/or helping Mama board the back of the Trader Vic, his family's boat. As you can see, other friends went, too. I counted five children--Fred's two and three of their friends--and 14 adults, including Mama and me--and one precious, well-dressed little Chihuahua named Lexi.

I'll go ahead and tell you that I managed to get on the Trader Vic in much the same manner, with lots of help.

Wikipedia: In the Hawaiian language, mele Kalikimaka is the translation of "Merry Christmas", and is used as such around Christmastime in Hawaii. The Hawaiian language does not have as many letters as the standard English Language (notably the letter R), and when Hawaiians heard the phrase "Merry Christmas", they tried to say it in their native tongue, thus was born "Mele Kalikimaka". The song "Mele Kalikimaka" (derived from the greeting) was penned by Robert Anderson. One of the earliest recordings of this song was by Bing Crosby & The Andrews Sisters in 1950 on Decca.

Fred's lights spell out the greeting for all to see and enjoy!

He made a palm tree for each side of the boat. They turned out very well as you can see.

While Fred didn't make this hula-skirted snowman--or is that a snow-wo-man?--it fits the theme perfectly and looks great at the front of the boat.

Here's a shot of Fred beside one of the palm trees, not too long before we moved out for the parade.

Flat Stanley couldn't help but notice Santa and a couple of reindeer in their convertible, sitting on the windowsill. The kids knew to push a button on the hood, then stand back for the fun. Turns out it's a lowrider, complete with the song, lights and up and down action. Here you can see that the car is up--check out the front wheel.

In this shot, you can see that less of the wheel is visible, proof indeed that this little car operates like a real, live lowrider. Personally, I love the thought of driving/operating and/or riding in a lowrider, music blasting, jumping up and down at red lights or in parades. I know, dream on, Lynette, you crazy nut!

You can see in this photo just how comfortable Mama's entire ride in the Christmas Ship Parade was--we were moving for at least two hours! We couldn't resist a photo of Flat Stanley and Lexi, both resting comfortably in Mama's arms.

Four of the kids stood with Flat Stanley, in the narrow area outside the cabin, at the back of the boat. Aren't they all cute as can be?

Flat Stanley picked this photo from several I took of him. He especially likes this one because the boat in the distance looks like a hat on the back of his head!

At one point I easily counted 20 different boats, and I couldn't see certain spots in the line due to maneuvers, etc. Naturally I took loads of photos, some of which turned out OK after trial and error on my part--the joys of digital photography!

We went east, we went west, we circled, we made figure eights, we went underneath the Interstate Bridge what carries Interstate 5 from Portland to Vancouver, Washington, we rode by restaurants and dwellings on the banks, we lined up facing the bank, and we spun around all in a row, several times. It was absolutely wonderful, every second of it.

Fred listened to a broadcast of which thing to do next and executed it all seamlessly. And thanks to my acu-pressure motion-sickness wristbands, I suffered not one second of queasiness or dizziness. I believe everyone had a blast, eating scrumptious finger foods like tiny Thai chicken pie, baguette pizza, spinach dip, rolls of salami and cream cheese, deviled eggs and loads of other goodies, all the while looking at the nearby brightly lit, beautiful parade of boats.

Here are some of the photos I took from the back of the Trader Vic.



See the Red Lion Hotel on the left of this photo? I think it's in Oregon, so you're looking more west than any other direction. Those tiny, straight-up-and-down pale whitish lights--sort of in a row about the height of the star on the Christmas tree-looking boat--I think they're on the Interstate Bridge.



You can tell that very often this brightly lit boat was closest to us. It was so beautiful that I couldn't resist taking numerous photos of it.

Here's two artistic photos of the bridge. If you believe that, I've got some beach front property to sell you, up in the Oregon high desert! You can tell that I was playing around with the settings on the camera.


Towards the end of the parade, we circled around several times in a cove or some such--I don't know all this nautical terminology, as you can tell by reading this post. Anyway, when this happened I got some pretty good close-up shots of quite a few of the boats. In the background you can see Christmas lights on all sorts of buildings, too. And you wouldn't believe the boats of all sizes docked all over the place. It was too dark to get photos of them, but they were something to see, too.








This boat with Dale Earnhardt's NASCAR number on it is special to me.













At the end of the evening, Fred and Lori pulled out this beautiful birthday cake, and the entire group sang "Happy Birthday" to me! Plus, everyone wished Fred an early "Happy Birthday;" his is Dec. 14.

Several of the kids enjoyed some of it before we all headed for home. A gal couldn't have asked for a more unique birthday celebration.


smilnsigh said...

What a fantastic batch of photos you got! I love the reflections in the water effect, in some.

And yes, the kids are sweet. You must have had a lovely time and all the folks must have been a great bunch, to be with.

Repeat, belated Happy Birthday!


Paulie said...

Happy belated birthday! Dot mentioned I must live near you . . . I guess we are separated by the Columbia since I am in Vancouver. I took photos of the ships one Monday night but didn't see all those. I wonder if you were on a tour of the Wilammette (sp) instead of the Columbia? No, maybe not you talked about the I-5 bridge. My photos , you cannot see the outline of the boats, just the decoration lights. I have the ones I got on my blog. I'll be back to see what else you have discovered about Portland since moving ehre.