The last Saturday of June -- the day of the Midyear Barbecue -- began at 7:30am with a telephone call from the delivery service, to let us know that Bri's lost luggage would be delivered before 2pm.
With most of the prep work done the night before, there were only a few last minute things to handle -- getting the barbecue grills cleaned, getting drinks outside and into coolers, getting plates, napkins, utensils set up. In the midst of these preparations, Bri's luggage arrived amid much rejoicing.
I had already filled one tank of propane, but at the time had decided that the second tank still seemed to have at least some propane inside. Confronted with the final opportunity to decide, I reconsidered the problem and decided that the risk/reward model pretty well meant I needed to have it filled. When I took it in, I got a rude shock -- it was a vintage 1995 tank, according to my propane supplier, and so therefore couldn't be refilled, although they were happy to sell me a new tank. My recollection is that this was a new tank that I bought only a year or two back. I think from now on, we deal only with a larger outlet like Home Depot or Canadian Tire -- one with less incentive to sell a new tank.
I got home and got the tank set up under a sky that was getting progressively grayer. It never rained, and the Weather Network never changed their forecast from 10% probability of precipitation. When Bob, Elaine, Robert, and Lisa arrived around 1:30, the sky was still gray, but shortly after, when Michael and Lorna arrived with both beer and ice, the sun began peeking through the clouds.
Mike and Glen also arrived early.
Bob and I made our annual trip to get chicken wings. By 3pm, the party was in full swing, and the sun was out with only scattered clouds in a blue sky.
Early preparation had significantly reduced the workload and stress. Perhaps there is a life lesson in there...
Mark, Elizabeth, and their children Ben and Olivia also came this year. Ben took a while to get over being shy, but ended up having a great time with Corwin later.
I cooked turkey sausages first. Although these would not have been good for people with restrictions on eating pork (since the casings were pork), we had obtained (through Michael's efforts) some halal lamb sausages that I intended to cook later. Even before the sausages were cooked, I put on the first installment of pork tenderloins.
Marlene, Ted, Marie, and Michelle were able to come, which went a long way to making the day even more special for me.
David and Sandy came, with David bringing a giant ice cream cake -- much appreciated by both children and adults on a warm afternoon.
Karen and Paul brought their son Zach, who went off with Corwin to do Kid Things involving water guns and explosion sounds.
Paula brought her son, Howard. She had come up with Catherine, Griff, and Jim. Griff and Beverley had been the first ones to accept this year's Midyear invitation when it was e-mailed a few weeks ago, but unfortunately, Beverley had caught a bug and was just getting to the symptomatic stage.
The day was warm and sunny, but not oppressively hot like previous Midyear Barbecues have been. Our friend and neighbour, Pam, has been to every Midyear barbecue, and has helped in the past with chairs, umbrellas, and barbecues. It wouldn't be the same without her, and it was nice that she was able to make it over late in the afternoon.
Mark and his family hung out with Glen.
Michael and Lorna, as usual, helped to make the party a success.
Patty, her husband Mike, and their two boys came in from Kitchener.
Madeline and Robert (not pictured) were first timers at the Midyear Barbecue this year.
Good news from Kathryn and Ken -- with their respective children moved out, they are getting married. Their date is New Year's Day, 2008.
The day had been warm, but not hot. It cooled off rapidly after sunset down to the low teens. Jackets and sweaters became necessary -- especially for Bri, who had limited experience with the concept of "cool weather" in the southern USA. Seated in front of Bri is Allan, who just finished his first full year of teaching at York after getting tenure and a professorship two years ago.
This group shot shows Jill and her former IOF colleagues -- from left to right: Pam, Karen, Suzanne, and Jill. Had I been more alert, Patty would have been in this shot as well.
In the end, we determined that 62 people (adults and children) attended this year's Midyear Barbecue. The count of 62 includes Jill, Corwin, Bri, and me.