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Saturday, December 18, 2004


Winter Solstice party

I went over to my friend Tom's place, a little over a mile up Goldhill Road from me, to attend his annual Winter Solstice party. He was also celebrating the (more or less) completion of the addition to his house, a project he's been working on since May.

I spent much of this afternoon screwing around with a snowthrower, clearing a driveway. I kept having mechanical issues with it, so finally I just gave up after the track came off the wheel again. I was looking forward to Tom's party.

So, I went down to Gullivers Books to purchase a presents for him and his wife. I bought a couple novelty items, a fork and a spoon, each had a telescoping handle that could stretch two feet long. I then went over the the West Fairbanks Fred Meyer, bought a cheap stapler (for a couple bucks or so), grabbed two paper bags, and then put each present in its own bag.

I was ready. I drove over to the party, all set and ready to go. The place was filling up when I got there, about 6:30 or so. He had the new arctic entryway all done, so I put my shoes and coat in the pile and came in.

Tom was in the back, showing off his new addition. When last I saw it, the opening in the old wall that would be the main entrance was marked out, but not cut yet. There were no walls (yet), the bay window was in place (sort of) and there was no drywall up yet, among many other things.

Now, the only thing left for him to do is lay down the flooring. I was quite impressed with the new addition and told him so. We marveled at the layout and he told us where he's going to have his bike room set up (he'll even have a ramp going up to the back door so he can ride his bike right into the room after one of the bike club's Tuesday rides in the summer.

I gave him his presents and told him that he'd better watch out with that Santa dude and not get on the guy's bad side or else. He assured me he would.

Then it was time to eat. I adjourned to the food table and partook of the Unkempt Joseph's (sloppy joe's) on one end, deviled eggs on another, and chips and dip in between.

I talked to our mutual biking buddy, Dave James, about bikes politics, and the like and milled around. After a while, our fearless Tuesday Night Bike Ride leader, Douglas Burnside, showed up. He and I talked about his amazing car stereo system and how much he'd invested in it (in the thousands of dollars, I can't remember the exact figure). He has quite the award-winning stereo system, I might add. I've sat in his car after a Tuesday ride and been amazed at the quality of the sound reproduction from the speakers and amps.

After an hour or so of milling around, Tom announced it was time to light the bonfire. He had a pile of old brush and scrap wood from the addition, laced with fuel oil for this purpose.

We walked out and he took a lighter to the top of the pile. We wondered why he was doing that but wondered no more after the fire got going and the fuel oil started lighting up.

We had to step back several feet once the fire got going strong. Other people started drifting out to watch and talk as we added fuel to the main fire from satellite piles around it. It got hot enoug that snow in the trees around the fire started melting and dripping. In fact, it felt a lot like rain!

The fire burned on and on and down. We added the rest of the wood to it. Some of the kids discovered that the sawdust pile on one end of the fire was laced with fuel oil. When they kicked sawdust up in to the fire, BOOM!! and a bright flower of fire burned briefly before dying out.

The fire was dying down, and I was getting tired, so I bade Tom my farewells and went home.

'Twas a good solstice party at Tom Clark's place this year!

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