Chapter 66:     21st Birthday Party

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 

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 

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.

The presents: Adam had asked people not to bring presents, but they did anyway. Most of them were mere tokens of affection; many drawings of a smiling Bigfoot by children, boxes of candy, even boxes of cigars, cards and photographs. But there were also several extravagant and expensive items, given by various commercial companies and public institutions. The City of Monroe gave Adam a powerful new sound system and PA for his band, complete with stage monitors, computerized mixer with digital effects. The IPR bequeathed him a special scholarship grant that guaranteed Adam an income over the next ten years...and the list goes on and on.
We had another private little family dinner for Adam and Melly the next evening. Just them, Lissandra and her mother with friend, Pokey, Elaine, myself--and for the first time in months, Doug Wielson was a guest. It was Adam who had insisted that Doug be invited, Melly had not spoken with her father for months, nor had Elaine or I except for a few short telephone conversations when he'd call to ask if we had heard any word from Adam while missing. But he took a long time coming so we had to start dinner without him. Our other guests were here for the first time, Lissandra's mother Margaret and her life-partner Ruth. I had met Margaret several years back when Lissandra was among my students at Monroe High School. She is currently head librarian of the Snohomish Public Library and lives in a lesbian relationship with Ruth, whom I had never met before. Neither Elaine nor I had much contact with the gay community, although we each had known some homosexuals back in college, so we were wondering what to expect. Of course, Margaret and Ruth were coming to check out Lissandra's Bigfoot Male Friend, so they had to be wondering too. They were both very nice and quite jolly, two obviously normal fun-loving ladies in their late 40's and we took a liking to them. Elaine hit it off with them and they talked about everything except what it was like to be gay. Although some hints did pop up. Adam charmed both Margaret and Ruth so much that they could understand why Lissandra liked him--even if he was male. But I think they were both slightly infatuated with beautiful blond Melly because Margaret suggested that Lissandra "hold on to that scrumptiously delicious woman." Melly giggled and Lissandra protested: "Mom, we're NOT gay!" "Oh, everyone is, at some level, dear," said Ruth with some dignity. "And hetero too," Lissandra countered, "or I wouldn't be here." "Yes, that's true, Honey," her mother admitted, "I never accepted that I was gay until after I had you." That brought up the subject of Lissandra's origin. I had always wondered what combination of racial mixtures could produce such an exotic beauty as her, so I asked about her father. Fortunately, Margaret was not shy about her scandalously heterosexual youth. "Lissandra's father was--and will always be--the most beautiful man I have ever seen in my life. Liss is proof of that. He was a dock worker in Rio de Janeiro. Poor, uneducated, primitive, a mix of every race that has ever passed through Brazil: Spanish dons and negro slaves, Chinese workers and Amazon Indians. I think Liss has inherited all the best features from all of those races." We all looked at Lissandra and agreed that she was definitely a select blend of extremely good-looking parts. She ended up rolling her eyes in shyness, "C'mon, you guys." "Are you still in touch with him?" Melly asked, although she knew that Lissandra herself had never met her father. "Oh Lord, no. We couldn't even talk! He spoke only Portuguese and I was only in Brazil on a two-week study-tour with a group of librarians. No, I had brazenly jumped off my bus to be with him and spent a week living in the most primitive hovel one could possibly find in the slums of Rio. All we had was sex, glorious, glorious sex, the most erotic week of my life." "Hey, I thought that was with me," Ruth said, being funny. "Then I came back to reality. I was starving, we had no money and my plane was leaving from Rio, so I caught it at the last minute. Later I wanted to tell him that I had his daughter, but he had no address, no telephone, no e-mail and the only name I had was Paolo, nothing else." Melly had to say it: "Gol, sounds almost like Bigfoot lifestyle." "Ah, but this Bigfoot is online," said Adam, hoisting his cell phone. Doug Wielson finally arrived late and it was obvious that he'd had to force himself to come at all. It was shocking to see him; our dynamic old friend with the clever outlaw attitude was now a humiliated man, his face radiating shame. When he met Adam his eyes filled with tears and he could not speak at all. It could have been an uncomfortable scene if Adam had not handled it as well as he did. He greeted Doug with an embrace and said, "Yes, yes, I forgive you everything, Doug. Welcome back into the family." After that, Doug became our old smartass friend again. It was nice to have him back. Even Melly spoke with him. We ended up laughing and trading stories well into the night. Actually, I think both Margaret and Ruth were almost flirting with him.

Chapter 67

Adam out of Eden