The occasion was the celebration of Rick's 50th birthday and all the guys were invited to Rick's mountain ranch in the Sierra foothills, and all came!
This was an unusual event as I believe this was the only time all sons were together with their dad for more than five minutes over the years. The wives were supportive and it was a classic family event.
Here are the players from right to left in order of birth: on the right is Roy,successful computer entrepreneur, then Rick, partner in a fancy Beverly Hills law firm, Doug, vascular surgeon deluxe ( a bit of a chip), Bryan, President of Sandpoint Ltd, The Dad. To my right is Mike, Professor of electrical engineering at BYU, then Jeff, pediatric psychiatrist in Spokane, Rob, retinal surgeon in Spokane (he does my eyes) and John, now a lawyer in Salt Lake City. All gave up time to come down and celebrate with Rick.
Here is the tent that I bought, first thing, when I got on the staff of the Massachusetts General Hospital in 1970 and was the basis of many camping trips in Maine with all the kids for several years. A great barn in the background. We stayed up late each night but all slept so well where the air is clean and crisp,
The deal was that we would do several improvement projects on Ricks place for the two days we were there. One crew was the road builders completing a road uphill and circling back. Brush and small trees were cut down, boulders removed and a road cut into the side of the hill. I told Rick he could have a guy come with a D6 and cut the road in little time. "Nah, I have my Chinese road crew here and we will do it by hand!"
They had to remove some big roots and here is Rob tearing out a huge root. He was always pretty strong.
Here is the road crew cutting the road. All did hard physical work that they were not used to in their various professions and daily work. They also got pretty dirty.
I was on the log splitting crew for a couple of days. Rick and I are in the background as I ran the log splitter and Bry fed the logs. Rob is stacking the split wood in a version of a German Holzhaus but not quite as even as they are over there. Jeff helped with the stacking as well.
There was a shooting break in the afternoon. This was the fifty yard plinking range and here we see Bryan shooting the new Winchester 1886 in 45-70, (my get over the presidential election blues). Rick had a nice shooting range with hanging steel targets and we all had a blast!
Roy, Doug and Rick went up to the 400 yard shooting range and did long distance sniping. Here is Roy, a true Sharfschuetzer with his 400 yard result.
I should mention something about the food. Gemina bought all the food and this was not done on a tight budget. She went to the Italian stores in LA for the pasta, sauce, meatballs and sausage. This was the first dinner and the guys did all the cooking and clean up. As I sat there surrounded by my sons around this table I just had to chuckle. Here were all these professional people, Carhart suspenders, soiled shirts, messed up hair and they reminded me of the old pictures of loggers in northern
Michigan sitting at the table in the bunkhouse but at that moment I also felt pride for these sons and it was a great moment.
Everyone had a cooking assignment and all helped with the cleanup. Their wives would have been proud! Rob had breakfast which was toasted bagels, gourmet lox, scrambled eggs and sliced onion as in the picture. It was so good! On Saturday night, Gemina had bought rib eye steaks (thick) and Roy did the honors.
Here is Roy doing an Assada or the grilling technique he learned on his mission to Argentina. Coals are kept at the edges with an open center and the meat slowly cook in the middle. This was done perfectly! This was a real lumbar jack feed and the best rib eye I have ever had. We spent the evenings "hanging out", watching old movies, Rob and Jeff played advanced squad leader every moment they could and some just wandered off to collapse in bed. John usually parked on the couch and did not need any sleeping medication. Roy sharpened all the knives on Rick's present from Doug, a gourmet sharpening wheel with a leather stropping wheel.
Then it was time to go; the much anticipated event, the highly planned and coordinated
activity was well lived and like all good things came to an end. It was a historic moment for me as I was able to enjoy the company of my eight sons and as we stepped back in time and once again worked together. I am very blessed and so are they and it was great!