One birthday party, 3 big winners

One birthday party, 3 big winners

Turning 3 years old is a big deal, and when you’re coming at it fresh off the sugar rush of your little brother’s first birthday party just a few weeks before, the expectations are stratospheric. In James’ mind, if the celebration for little Max was that big for just one measly year on the planet, then his own third birthday should be three times as awesome.

While I have no way of accurately quantifying the awesomeness factor of James’ birthday, I can tell you this much: The celebration ended with not just one, but rather three big winners.

Perhaps it’s best to start with the dog. Our mutt Frankie has a bit of a love-hate relationship with traveling to our daughter’s place. The love part comes from simply going somewhere. Frank is so enamored with the very idea of travel that I once let him jump in the cab of the truck as I pulled it out of the garage to unload a box from the bed. The round trip — all of 50 feet — lasted a full three hours as the dog refused to leave the cab for the rest of the afternoon.

Going to Charlotte and Andrew’s place, however, is a bittersweet journey as his “cousins,” grand puppies Jax and Beasley, tend to go all alpha on him whenever no parents are about. To make matters worse, Andrew’s mom’s Labrador Belle would join in the scrum. Belle, while young and attractive, has all the subtle romantic charm of a drunken rugby player as far as Frank is concerned. The only upside to this trip would come when all four dogs were set loose in the garage with five meaty shank bones — one extra so there’d be no quarrelling.

Frank would win big at the end of the day when he scooped up the largest and juiciest of those bones and hustled it into our car for the trip home.

Now on to the birthday boy. I’ve made it a point during my admittedly brief time as a grandpa to pay close attention to what the boys love the most. It’s been clear for quite some time now that nothing gets James more fired up than construction vehicles. Dozers, backhoes, track hoes and dump trucks — this kid could sit all day and watch a construction site. When the family passed a logging operation along the highway a few months back, James began to talk about the “tree cutter” during every single conversation we had.

The bar was set. I was going to give that boy a toy tree-harvesting machine even if I had to make it myself. The search was not easy, and for a guy who despises the whole notion of “shopping,” it was a decidedly foreign experience. Still, I persevered, and landed what I immediately declared to be “the best gift I’d given anyone ever!” Then I had to sit on it for a full six weeks — utter torture.

Our final pair of winners were crowned simultaneously as James unwrapped what instantly became our shared favorite toy — a genuine, scale version of a John Deere 1270 G Tree Harvester complete with plastic tree and detachable stump. The party pretty much stopped as the little lumberjack set off to roam the forest of imagination.

Sure, James got the toy, but I got the satisfaction of scoring the biggest win of the day.

Kristin and John Lorson would love to hear from you. Write Drawing Laughter, P.O. Box 170, Fredericksburg, OH 44627, or email John at

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