ART writes-- Adam and Melly would both turn 21 years old on the 21st of June, the summer solstice and their mutual birthday. That they would officially become adults and the joy of having Adam home and well again, called for a grand celebration. It had been 4 years since the big Welcome Home Bash we had thrown when Doug and Melly came back from Indonesia; we thought it was time for another party on that scale. Really big, maybe 100 guests. But we had barely started inviting a few friends and relatives when the City Council of Monroe contacted us: the town wanted to throw a bigger birthday party for Adam. It made sense, Adam Leroy Forest had once been "the Baby Bigfoot of Monroe", everybody in town knew him and the PR publicity his name had brought the town was immeasurable. When he had "died" the town had lost its most famous personality and now that he was "resurrected" just in time to be of legal age, the city of Monroe wanted to officially welcome him back, as well as to wish him happy birthday. This was going to be much larger than a hundred people; about 5000 people lived in the area, so the city offered use of the fairgrounds where the Evergreen State Fair was held every year. There was more than enough room for a huge outdoor party, with access to the big barns in case of rain, although we had an ideal summer going on. Adam quibbled about being the center of so much attention, reminding everyone that it was Melly's birthday too, but she convinced him to accept the inevitable, it was already too late to stop it from happening anyway. He did insist, however, that it was not to become a commercial event for monetary profit--no tickets sold, no media deals, no advertising gimmicks, no food or drink sales--everything was to be free that day. Nor was it to be at great expense to the town: everyone could bring some food and drink, like a potluck or gigantic picnic; all services done by volunteer help. It was to be a genuine folk fest. The chamber of commerce agreed and offered to contribute several oxen to roast, restaurants donated cauldrons of chili and potato salad, taverns donated kegs of beer, people brought salads, cakes, pies, bands offered to play for free. All the ingredients of a classic bash were gathered. It was fortuitous that Adam's "actual" birth date, the 21st of June (we had guessed), fell on a Saturday this year and put it in the weekend. While there was no advertising, as Adam had stipulated, such an event attracted media attention anyway. So it was mentioned on the local radio stations, preparations were given a "human interest spot" on Seattle television news. Adam was quoted in the area newspapers: "...and please, do not bring me five thousand birthday presents!" The weather was perfect that day. The party was officially to begin at 6:00 in the evening, but already by 2:00 in the afternoon it was obvious that this party was going to be a lot bigger than anything we had imagined. We had more or less expected most of the population of Monroe to show up, but no one had expected what we got. We should not have been so surprised; Adam was famous far beyond the limits of Monroe, Washington. The general public knew about his birthday. That same general public who had watched our little baby Bigfoot grow up on their television sets, who had seen documentaries on Discovery Channel and National Geographic--and later who had followed the dramatic news of Adam's shooting and disappearance. Elaine and I had received so many e-mails and letters from people all over the world, expressing their sympathy at our loss and encouragement not to give up hope. Then Adam had returned, there had been legal dramatics, vindication. And now he was turning 21 years old. The general public knew all that. So they showed up to pay their respects, to honor him, to wish Adam well, to shake his big hairy hand. The general public: ALL of them. Or so it seemed. A virtual river of people came flowing to the fairgrounds, until it seemed no more could fit in and still they came. Not just from Monroe or the surrounding towns, or even Seattle, but from Canada, California, Montana and even farther away. There were students, housewives, cowboys, bikers, tourists... Cars were parked for miles up and down Highway 2 until there was no more room for any more anywhere, people had to hike in and eventually buses began shuttling stranded folk in from out of town, where the traffic had swamped itself. Television crews from Seattle had to come in by helicopter. The town could never have provided enough free food or drink for so many people, but there was plenty anyway, as if Jesus had been there to deal out fish and loaves, because the crowd itself had come bearing gifts of food and drink. Once the party had expanded beyond the fairground parking lots to the open fields over by the river, we made some big bonfires for the approaching evening then set up several scenes. There was an enormous volunteer work force at our disposal, thousands of hands eager to help, talents to contribute. They set up sound equipment, instruments, lights, generators: there must have been 15 different bands of musicians who had shown up and they all wanted to take part in this Happening, so we let them (as if we could stop them). Adam, at the center of the storm of well-wishers, had been shaking hands and accepting gifts non-stop for hours. He was overwhelmed by all this attention, but also as attentive and friendly as he could be to so many people at once. So when he was called up on stage to address the crowd, he jumped at it and so did the crowd. A vast cheer went up as Adam ascended the big stage set up above the Speedway, cries of "Happy Birthday!" For most people this was the first sight they could catch of the Birthday Bigfoot they had come to visit. Adam took a microphone and faced the crowd, which actually surrounded him. There was no hesitation or shyness, he went into Orator mode. "Wow, this is pretty fantastic, isn't it? Kind of like another Woodstock! Look, I know each of you came here to wish me happy birthday, but there's so many people that I can't meet every one of you face to face, so let me just say that I thank all of you for wishing me well...and for all the cool presents! "In talking to many of you I found that this seems to be a spontaneous happening, no one had really planned anything of this scale. This is what happens when you get a last-minute impulse to go to a birthday party for someone you feel that you know. "But this is hardly a casual gathering, people have had to make an effort to get here, there are people enduring physical hardships just to wade through the traffic and the crowd. It's almost like some kind of Pilgrimage for some, this MEANS something to them. And with so many people squashed together like this it could easily have become an uncomfortable scene, frustrating, claustrophobic, everybody irritating each other into becoming a dangerous angry mob--but it hasn't. This is the nicest, most well-behaved mob I've ever been part of. This is a miracle. I am honored by the presence of each and every person here." It had been arranged that Adam would sing a song, since he had been so well known as the town's "Singing Sasquatch". Adam had wanted the Band to accompany him, but none of the others felt ready for a public presentation on such a scale, so Adam went solo, just him and his El-Excalibur guitar. He was very professional about it; this was the perfect chance for Adam to kick-start his musical "magic". He had never performed for so large an audience before, nor could he have known just how big a showcase it would become, but he had deliberated much about what to sing. He wanted one song that would show what he could do, symbolic of surviving separation from family and friends. He chose "The Heart Must Go On." We all know that theme song from the Titanic movie and most of us have probably experienced goose-bumps upon having first heard Celine Dion singing it with the incredible elastic power of her voice. It's actually such a simple song that it needs a special voice to carry it, and she performed it so well that no one can hear it without referring to her version. But that evening Adam broke the mold. His version was a new song. It WAS magic. He sounded good: wonderful masculine tone, soaring vocals, the rare miracle of one voice and a guitar ringing out into the night and simply conquering thousands of people with a simple song. The crowd was completely swayed and sang along for the last verse. Adam finished, bowed to thundering applause and left the scene with the crowd yelling for more. But he only sang that one song, because this was not a concert, so he had focused all his haka into that one number. It was strategic and very effective; many in the audience would consider this the best performance of any song they had ever heard in their lives. More would not make it better. The only one not especially satisfied about it was Adam himself, but only because it was somebody else's song, not his own creation. There were ceremonies, a birthday cake presented by the mayor, official gifts, including a key to the city; other bands started playing music, people dancing everywhere. The party officially ended at 10:00 pm, but went on into the night. We slipped away about midnight. We couldn't even fit half of the presents in our van and had to stack them into one of the fairgrounds barns to be picked up the next day.
Adam out of Eden