Saturday was the longest day of the year and we marked the occasion by actually going out as a family….Please don’t all faint! (If memory serves me correctly the last time we ventured out as a family was to celebrate Boy Child’s birthday last December)
The special occasion that triggered this rare family outing was a summer BBQ at the local boat club where the Big Green Gummi Bear spends most of his time. A slight twist to the tale came earlier in the week when Girl Child asked if she could bring along a friend – her current “Special Friend”. Having caught us in a weak moment both the Big Green Gummi Bear and I said yes.
Cue several hours of preening behind closed bedroom doors before Girl Child emerged looking……well looking like a beautiful young lady instead of her usual rock chick self. When he saw her, a wave of panic washed across the Big Green Gummi Bear’s face.
“Special Friend” duly arrived and politely endured the torture and torment of being introduced to the Big Green Gummi Bear before we all set off to the BBQ. I’ve never seen two teenagers look so awkward, cramped into the back seat of the car, with Boy Child wedged in as chaperone.
A local band had been hired to provide the evening’s musical entertainment and, when we all trooped into the club’s lounge, they were just finishing up their sound check. With drinks in hand, we joined a long table with some friends and sat back to enjoy the evening’s entertainment.
No disrespect to the three musicians but they weren’t exactly aiming for the teenage audience and after a few minutes Girl Child asked if she could go for a walk. Her father said yes but then added, jokingly, that she had to go alone. Special Friend sat frozen in his seat as she trotted off out the door! After a gentle nudge of approval from me, he bolted out after her.
Now the main entertainment for the evening began- Big Green Gummi Bear baiting.
Within five minutes of the two teenagers escaping, he was fretting about where his baby Girl Child had gone. Within fifteen minutes he was twitching and glancing up at the door every few seconds. His friends jumped on the opportunity to make him squirm with suggestions as to what the two teenagers may or may not be up to. When someone dared to suggest that they may be down in the boat sheds enjoying an intimate moment, he almost had heart failure!
In the background the band played on.
We were being “treated” to a set of Rod Stewart and Eagles classic tracks that prompted an impromptu pop quiz among the adults and Boy Child as we tried to guess which song was being attempted. At one point the backing tape programme on the guitarist’s iPad got out of sync and we had a warped Eagles medley playing until he reset it. For me, the highlight of their first half was when they played The Kinks “Sunny Afternoon.” After an epic fail to hit the first high note in the song, the singer just left out all the lyrics that ended on any high notes beyond his range. All that was missing was a few substitute “la la la’s” instead. Priceless!
Food was duly declared ready; the band stopped for a welcome break and the “weans” wandered back in. The Big Green Gummi Bear let out a long sigh of relief.
The legendary Scottish midgies put paid to any ideas of socialising around the BBQ as the various guests grabbed plates of food and darted back indoors before being eaten alive by these pesky beasties.
Before the band had even played a note of the second half of their set Girl Child asked if they could go for another walk. I said yes and they promptly disappeared again. Their timing was impeccable – the Big Green Gummi Bear was at the bar and never saw them leave. Around the table we decided not to tell him until he noticed for himself. Beer in hand, he returned and joined in the mutual appreciation of Neil Diamond (I still have Sweet Caroline stuck in my head) and Monkees numbers. This whole affair was beginning to have the air of couple-less wedding reception.
After about half an hour he realised that Girl Child was AWOL again. Cue panic and a flurry of hand gestures down the length of the table towards me to text or phone or send Boy Child to search for her. His fatherly concern was hysterical, especially when unprompted one of his friends casually remarked that he’d seen them heading round to the secluded garden at the rear of the clubhouse. (They were in fact sitting chatting on a bench slightly further along the road in full view of the clubhouse)
The witching hour finally arrived and it was time for me to escort the teenage contingent home. Eleven o’clock at night and it was still light- love June evenings! Right on time Girl Child and Special Friend returned. The Big Green Gummi Bear sank back into the seat with exhausted relief.
For the Big Green Gummi Bear it had been the longest day, fretting about his daughter’s whereabouts; for Girl Child and Special Friend (and Boy Child who got trapped with the adults) it had been the longest dull day trapped at an “old person’s” party. For me….well I found the whole thing hilarious!