Boy! What a weekend! If you are interested in hearing about a 12-year-old’s most perfect weekend, read on. If you have something against redneck sports like paintball, well you’re out of luck big-time. Paintball, birthday cake, and eternal salvation – that’s our weekend. Sound eclectic? Well, Saturday was Evan’s birthday party and Sunday was the confirmation ceremony for sixth graders at church.

Mel is exhausted. Nobody ever said parenting was easy I guess.

There’s nothing Evan likes more than to take to the woods with a paintball gun and try to pop his buddies on the backside with a hard dollop of paint. And, to be honest, that’s the best thing for some of these kids. Boys at that age are all bravado and need to be put in their places. When Evan is the last man out of the woods and the others come out rubbing welts, the pecking order is (temporarily at least) re-shuffled.

We headed to paintball land again Saturday with a half-dozen carefully picked young lads. The place has expanded this year and was crawling with paintballers from all over. The lady in the former-mobile-home office was raking money in with a shovel as fast as she could manage it. Our guys were placed with a group and they played until they were exhausted. There seemed to be a rather large contingent of southern Baptists (to judge from the markings on the busses in the parking lot) which seems odd to me. That sort of puts “turning the other cheek” in a different light doesn’t it?

The place has expanded but it is still its old rustic trailer-park type of self. That’s probably why it’s so cheap to spend the entire day there having fun. I stayed back in the “picnic area” with some other families to wait out the skirmishes. One lady caught my interest in that she appeared to be wearing those fake “Billy Bob Teeth” that you can find in convenience stores everywhere (around here anyway). At least I thought she was wearing fake billybob teeth but this is Oklahoma and you can never be sure. After awhile, and after I saw her eat several burritoes, I concluded that they were in fact real teeth; she must have been the model for “Billy Bob Teeth”. *shudder* I am reminded of a line from a gothic horror story: “I watched in fascinated horror…” I didn’t take pictures though – I do have my standards.

As expected, the event was a success with a van-load of exhausted boys at the end of it. I brought them home, Melissa plied them with hamburgers and birthday cake and sent them home, rubbing their injuries.

Sunday was the day of the Methodist confirmation ceremony. When I was younger and went through it (and at the other churches I’ve been a member of), they didn’t make such a big deal out of it. They just announced their names and had them stand during the morning service but here, they had a special ceremony during the evening and put the word out to invite extended family and dress up. The dressing up met with much dismay on the part of the confirmands who had never worn ties before and were all hoping to never have to do so. But we insisted and trussed up Evan in a tie accordingly. He didn’t look so bad either.

They all behaved pretty well considering the length of the minister’s homily. One might have thought that he would have shortened it to match up with the attention spans of the target audience but I guess he was giving them their first taste of the real world. They survived it. They all also managed to avoid running around like madmen in the gym afterward during the refreshments. That’s probably due to the ties cutting off circulation to their brains. We cut the refreshments short and took the whole extended family (or at least those of the extended family who lived close by) and headed for a restaurant for a late dinner. There, both Evan and Erin became hyperactive due to the fact that we let them stay up past their bedtimes. Evan had had two major events come and go during the weekend that were all about him and he finally succumbed to the effect of it all and became uncontrollably annoying and so we went home and tossed them each into a shower and from there, to the bed.

As much as the minister would like to hope that all those sixth graders are now firmly established in the way that leads to life eternal, I’m in serious doubt as to whether many of them had much notion of what he was talking about. They were too busy giggling at the ladies who were trying to light the candles that kept going out. It was a nice touch to light a candle at the reading of each kid’s name but they neglected to anticipate the effect that air conditioning can have on a candle. Vents can be your friend or your enemy depending on what sort of atmosphere you want to create. Anyway, there was much giggling. Perhaps that’s why next year, the Methodist church is moving the confirmation process up to seventh grade.

But a good time was had by all. Pictures? Maybe later.

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