Dead Bird 1996
This was the year of Dead Birds meet The Dead Crustaceans.
Audrey and Gabe Helou travelled with Joe and Lisa Besko cross-country
to be there. The drive took the four of them across Ontario, Canada,
New York state, and Massachusets. Lisa and Joe already understood the
value of a minivan for long-distance travel. Gabe and Audrey
soon found out that having a fold-down bench seat, pillows, and
blankets makes the trip very comfortable. The CD
player didn't hurt much either.
Scott "THX-1138" and Dawn Abfalter took a different approach - they
flew. Since this year's Dead Bird Party happened to be just after
their anniversary, they took some extra time off and spent a few days
on the coast. They got to see Boston and stayed in some Bed & Breakfast
places. From the sound of it, they had a great time.
Once we were all assembled at the highly-comfortable home
of Bosh & Debi, we settled to a routine of good food, good
conversation, and general silliness.
The seafood was great; so were the lobster finger puppets.
THX amazed people with his Nerf-saber technique, Debi with
her Nerf kendo style. Joe, Lisa, Audrey, and Gabe took and
trip into Boston to visit Dara Gilbert, an old college friend
of Gabe's and to get a walking tour of historic Boston. Dara
refered to it as "a forced march." We though she was
joking . . . at first.
The July Brunch was held Sunday morning at the Concord Inn in Concord,
Mass. A first-rate meal in a wonderful old inn. All in all, it was
a good Dead Bird. Not nearly enough time to spend lounging around,
catching up on things, and enjoying the weather, but we enjoyed the time
Hiding way in the back: Christopher C. "Bosh" Fillmore-Gillett
Towards the back: Carl Gillett, Audrey Helou
Somewhere around the middle: Scott Abfalter, Marilyn Gillett, Gabe Helou, Joe Besko
Up front: Dawn Abfalter, Debi Fillmore-Gillett, Lisa Besko
September Brunch and Hot Tub Party
Audrey likes kitties. Most people know that. When Dealer wrote
to tell us that we could get our pictures taken with big cats,
Audrey began to bounce off the walls. Almost literally. It was
fun to watch.
The event was sponsored by Wild Wonders, an organization that
takes in big cats and gives them a place to live. Occasionally,
the cats are taken to schools and other public places as part of
an effort to educate people about the problems facing the cats
in the wild. In this case, the event was a fund-raiser to
help pay for the cat's care and feeding. No small feat, that.
As it started out, Audrey wanted to pose with Zena, a 90-Kg
(200-pound), 11-month old tiger. No problem. Zena seemed to
like it as well. This would have been the end of it, except
for one nagging problem. The little tiger cubs were so
This, of course, meant that Tigger had to come out and get fed. Tigger
proved to be popular with a lot of other people as well. Next thing you
know, Audrey points out that no one is posing with the lion cubs. This
meant that Sampson got to come out of his cage and be fed by Audrey, as
well as by his handler. Since no one else seemed interested in sitting
with the lion, Audrey got to sit and pet him for several minutes while
he was fed.
Eventually, Gabe decided that he'd sit with one of the cats. (It was
his birthday, after all.) Being fond of black cats, Gabe opted
for a young black leopard. At first, it looks like a large house
cat, but then you notice the paws.
After all of this, we got back to the house and started to prepare the
bonfire site for later in the evening. Later on, Joe and Lisa
showed up and help get the evening meal underway. By the time dinner
was under way, we'd also be joined by Dealer's parents, and Don & Donna
Kriss (along with William and Helena). It was, after all, Donna's
birthday as well.
After dinner was the bonfire and after the bonfire was the hot tub.
The tub was wonderful, the conversation was good, and the stars were
amazing. We even got a few shooting stars thrown in.
Sunday morning, Dealer, Joe, and Gabe walked around Dealer's property and
speculated on the best way to utilize it. After that, we did brunch
at Lakeside Charlie's. It made up for the brunch at McGuire's last year.
Joe Besko, Lisa Besko, R. S. "Dealer" Cadwell, Gabe Helou, Audrey Helou
The year ain't over yet . . .