My Lavonne Turns 80!
Day 1, Friday, February 10: The Family Gathers at the Castle
Lavonne wasn’t permitted to hit the Big 8-o quietly; her sons, Allen and Craig, were going to make it a very big deal! They had a party planned for her at the club house in the senior community where we live. It would be held the next day, Saturday, and would include live entertainment by Lavonne’s favorite, The King himself… Elvis! She’s been an Elvis fan nearly all her life, and having Elvis perform live and in person would be the perfect celebration for her 80th birthday.
Elvis Lives! He was captured here live and in person on Day 2 as he appeared in our little senior community’s clubhouse! He put on a wonderful show.
Our son, Allen, and his wife, Nancy flew in from Denver on Day 1. I met them at the Sacramento Airport and brought them to Craig’s Castle in Stockton where we were all gathering for Lavonne’s big bash the next day.
Big Blue at Craig’s Castle during the 80th birthday party gathering for Lavonne. Craig and Laura played hosts to the whole gang, and were splendid at keeping everything going smoothly.
Big Blue was already parked at Craig’s as I had driven her up earlier in the day with Lavonne. We parked on his oversized driveway for Lavonne’s 80th birthday celebration, and our visit would last three days.
Once settled in at Craig’s, the family opted to head to a restaurant for dinner. They chose Olive Garden, and as usual, I chose to stay home in the coach. I just don’t like noisy restaurants – and they’re all noisy these days. I simply quit going to them some years ago. Although I don’t like the noisy crowds, I do like Olive Garden’s fare, and Lavonne would bring some home for me. I called her at the restaurant to place my order for take-out, and even the background racket on the phone seemed intolerable to me.
It was so good to spend the evening aboard Big Blue! We hadn’t spent any time aboard since Christmas, so it had been about seven weeks since our last stay.
Perhaps some regular readers of this site wonder what happened to this year’s Search for Sunshine adventure. How do I say this… when the time came for the trip, I just didn’t want to go. Nope. And that was a first for me. I just wanted to stay home with my dear Lavonne, and so I did. I believe that the likelihood of cold weather put the damper on my January trip.
If that happens again in a month or two when I plan to go bummin’ around the country for a while, perhaps it would signal the time to give up the RVing entirely. Now in my 80th year, that time may be approaching. For now, however, I believe I’ll be looking forward to my next bummin’ trip when the time comes. The weather should be much nicer in a month or two.
Our night aboard Big Blue at Craig’s was cozy and uneventful, just as we like. It was a cold night by our standards, as all nights are in February, but we slept warm and comfy in our little home on wheels.
Day 2, Saturday, February 11, Party Day!
We were awake and up pretty early for retired, old folks. Lavonne was up and around sometime before 0400 hours, and I joined her around 0530. I don’t know just what the rush was, but perhaps it was excitement for the big party day.
We joined the family in Craig’s kitchen sometime around 0900. It was good to begin the big day with family over breakfast which for us was pretty much a hunt and gather proposition. Craig and Laura set out a variety of choices, and we picked among the offerings for ourselves.
The party was to begin at 1600 hours, and the kids left much earlier to set up the clubhouse with lots of birthday decor including balloons by the dozen. Meanwhile, Lavonne and I drove back home in the car for the party.
Lavonne rocks with Elvis!
By any standard, the party was a big success. It seems everyone that was invited showed up, and that included Elvis and Mrs. Elvis. His wife did all the setting up for their show, and I don’t believe he was around at all ’til the Elvis music started and he made a grand entrance – which included acknowledging Lavonne and giving her a big hug to begin the show.
Click on any photo to enlarge and read the captions:
Lavonne with great-nephew, Jeremy.
Lavonne and Dale.
The party rocks on!
Lavonne’s girlfriends Dee, Jan, Shelley, Gale, and Rosalee.
Lavonne’s friends, Donna and Joanne from waaay back when they worked together at the YMCA.
Family at one of several tables.
As Elvis made his grand entrance, I made my humble departure – I don’t tolerate loudness well – not even melodious loudness. The guests, and especially Lavonne, enjoyed his show a great deal, or so I was told.
This photo says it all! My dear Lavonne is obviously star-struck by Elvis. She had a Happy 80th moment here with her favorite singer that made the entire family effort worthwhile.
Lavonne shares her Elvis moment with her gal friends and neighbors of our little community. From left, Jan, Dee, Lavonne, Elvis, Shelley, Rosalee, and Gale. If they weren’t all Elvis fans before, they are now!
The party rocks on as Allen and Craig address the partygoers. Thanks to those generous sons, the entire bash was possible.
Elvis addresses the crowd with Lavonne, Allen, and Craig.
After all was said and done, we drove back to Stockton and Craig’s Castle for the night. Lavonne had enjoyed a wonderful birthday party with friends and family and Elvis, and that’s what really mattered. We would spend Sunday with family.
Day 3, Sunday, February 12, at rest at Craig’s Castle
Day 3 was as laid back as Day 2 was a rockin’ Elvis show. Most of the family stayed at Craig’s Castle. We spent the night in the coach, Dean and Melissa and Allen and Nancy stayed in extra rooms in the castle. The family came to life as the morning wore on.
Breakfast was provided by volunteers to the cause, mainly Laura and Craig, with help from several others. It was mid morning by the time breakfast was served and the clean up was done. And it was time for some to depart for the airport and their return home. Lunch was provided as a “snack buffet”. It seemed I snacked all day long.
We watched the Super Bowl, naturally, although with the local San Francisco 49ers out of the hunt, we weren’t all that wrapped up in the outcome.
Dinner was enchiladas a la Nancy, a dish for which she is well known and appreciated. They were divine! Too many sides were available to recall, but we surely had plenty of choices.
After dinner we spent a splendid hour or two just visiting with those we love. I excused myself after about an hour. It had been a long day, and I headed to the coach for a good, hot shower. It had been a memorable day, and I am so very blessed to have married into Lavonne’s lovely family. It is good to be married to the Matriarch!
Day 4, Monday, February 13, an Airport Run Aboard Big Blue
We were up and around a few minutes after 0600 hours. More family members were heading home this day. Brett and Marlee left for the San Francisco airport at 0700 for their nonstop to Florida. We’d planned to drive Erica to the Sacramento airport for her flight to Salt Lake City about 1130. In the evening, Allen and Nancy would also head to the Sacramento airport for their flight to Denver. Yep – folks came from far and wide to celebrate Lavonne’s Big Birthday Bash!
I wish I had photos of the coach trip to the airport, but I forgot to take any. Lavonne, Allen, Nancy, and Erica joined me aboard Big Blue for the 110 mile round trip to the airport. We dropped Erica off safely for her flight, and then headed back to Craig’s.
We stopped for lunch along the drive home at a favorite burger joint, In-N-Out Burgers just off the freeway in Sacramento. They make splendid burgers and shakes, and it made for a very good lunch stop. The only time I get to enjoy such fare is on such airport runs, so it was a pretty big deal for me.
Once back at Craig’s, Lavonne, Nancy, and Allen joined Craig at his castle, and I headed home with the coach. As I drove, Lavonne called to let me know they had decided to join Craig for a boat ride on the Delta before Lavonne would head for home, and the kids would head back to the airport for their evening flight to Denver.
When I arrived home, I began the big job of unloading the coach and putting things away. I was plumb tuckered out afterwards, but then idled the coach down to the RV lot where I dumped the holding tanks and filled the fresh water tank. Once Big Blue was tucked away in her oversized carport, I was done for the day.
Lavonne arrived home an hour or so later. The family had righteously celebrated her big 80th birthday, and we were both happy for all the good times with family. We were also happy to be back home and that we old folks could catch up on some well needed rest.
To all who made the grand celebration possible, we are very thankful. Life is good when we have a wonderful family to love and with whom we celebrate life’s best moments!
Over the years I have posted many exciting fishing and boating stories here, but now in my seventies, it was time to sell the boat and find less demanding pastimes. All the fishing stories are still here! I will now post my travels aboard the motorhome and other activities. I hope y'all will still enjoy the fishing and boating adventures and perhaps peek in on my post-boating activities on occasion. Thanks for dropping in and I hope you enjoy your visit.
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Hello Dale and Lavonne!
First off, a belated HAPPY 80th BIRTHDAY to Lavonne! She is one sharp looking 80 who could easily pass for 70 or less! You have one BEAUTIFUL wife!
I was wondering if there would be another update from you. I figured the Looking for Sunshine would be put on the back burner considering the weather in Cal., well actually, all over. However, this was much better to read as it was such a joyous occasion!
I hope your heart health has been good and not acting up. We’ve been healthy so far this winter, other than a head cold for Jim.
Jim has really been active in a community project that a VFW member came up with. The 2 of them put on meat raffles and have boxes for donations in our county bars. They have managed to get to some $100K so far, but I doubt that we won’t live long enough to see it built, as so much is needed. It’s a Veterans Memorial for the men and women in our County who served and got honorably discharged or died in all wars.
Our winter has been pretty mild other than a short stretch of some really cold (negative numbers). Right now we are in early like Spring temps. It’s kind of been like a roller coaster. lol
Well, that’s my update of things here. As for me, I have some of my hobbies going a on all together…knitting, crocheting, putting a puzzle together. When I tire of one, I move on to another.
Take care and am looking forward to your next trip.
Hi Sandy –
Yep! As I told my Lavonne the next day, “I slept with an 80 year old woman last night… that was a first for me!” But since I’m in my 80th year now, I guess that’s probably not too unusual for a fella my age.
Her party was real special with her favorite singer, Elvis, there live and in person. The fella put on quite a show, one she’ll never forget. She saw the real Elvis three times live back in the days when he was still kickin’ and still doing shows,
Our winter has been a bit wetter that we’ve had the past couple of years, but not enough rain yet, I don’t think. I’d like to see us get a rain total higher than average, but so far we’re just at average this winter. Once June gets here, we’ll likely not see another drop ’til next October or November, This is a pretty arid place we call home.
My health has been doing fine since July’s heart attack and I hope it stays that way. In this day and age the doctors seem to have an answer for most every heart issue. So far, so good!
Thanks again for the visit, and I am also looking forward to my next trip. It’ll be in the next couple months or so, I hope.
So glad to hear that your heart issue is doing fine!
I hope you told her how beautiful she looks for her age!