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Monday, May 12, 2008

The Tim Phinney Memorial

Something extraordinary happened this past weekend. Besides all the busyness that comes with this time of year, as we wind down schoolwork, and gear up for the summer, the Phinney family decided to get together. You see, we lost a brother last year, and one of my husband’s other brother suggested a get together to honour their brother’s birthday, May 10th.
A barbeque with family after a long day of volunteering for two fundraisers sounded like a good plan. As soon as we arrived, my good brother-in-law produced a bowl of names. Pick out a name, set up a round robin tournament.
Or washers. You know that game, a square box with a short tube in the middle. You throw heavy-duty washers into and hope you’re better than you know you are after a long winter.
You hope in vain. Up here in New Brunswick, it’s still cold. And Saturday saw rain and wind. No one, not even the diehard washers experts, wanted to brave a backyard that looks out at the Bay of Fundy on a cold May evening. Brr.
My brother in law knew we needed a bit of incentive.
"I’ve got a prize for the winner."
Personally the prize would have to include tickets to somewhere warm to interest me. But we all looked up from around the kitchen table.
He produced a large trophy. Below the winged victory on the top, an engraved title plate.
The Tim Phinney Memorial Champions.
Who could bow out now? The sweet gesture stirred the family on. Okay, it’s not plane tickets to Florida, but the heart is in the right place here for all of us. Tim would be touched.
So we braved the wind and cold. My partner is my husband. He complained he was going uphill while I said the wind was against me. We were playing a pair who hadn’t played washers before. They beat us, pummeled us, whomped us. We were out of the running, but so were other teams who realized the cold winter had dulled their washer skills. In fact, we all decided the wind and cold and yes, even the slope of the land just wasn’t good for the game. It couldn’t be our skills or lack thereof.
Regardless, the tournament went on until the final game, outside, in the dark, with no lights, and washers now taking on the colour of the night.
The game literally came down to the wire. With all the tension of a Stanley Cup final game, we watched the nail-biting action. Then my daughter, with great finesse, threw the final washer…
…into the wooden box.
We all jumped to our feet, screamed enough to be thankful for no neighbours, and poured ourselves onto the playing field like team members onto the ice.
My brother in law and my daughter had won the championship game.
Camera flashes blinded us. (all right, it was only one small camera, and it was mostly because I’d asked my niece to snap a few shots of me for my website, but that’s another story).
Anyway, my niece did take a few pics of my mother in law doing the honours of presenting the trophy, but just a few, as apparently I used up most of her megabites.
But the evening, in the words of my sister in law, was one of those moments we will all remember.
Tim would be proud. Just not proud of our washer skills.


Stella MacLean said...

Dear Barb,
What a great time you had on such a chilly night. Goes to show that fun is not dependent on warmth, right?
Getting together like that to pay tribute is a wonderful way.

PamelaTracy said...

Sounds like a lot of fun. I've never heard of the game, but the way you described it made me want to play :)

Barbara Phinney said...

Thank you, Pam, Stella, (It's hard for me to call you that, even though it's your middle name!)
And Pamela, I must find a website for you to see the game. It's all hand made.

Anne MacFarlane said...

What a wonderful way to remember your brother-in-law. Sounds cold but fun.