|Niece Jessica's artwork on a wine barrel|
(hey, RitterFest may not take place in Napa Valley but
we have to take a little bit of Napa Valley with us. )
Her work is available on Facebook at Mundy Creations
|The Boy jumping off the rock. Last year and the year|
before they were jumping off the big one...
Our first RitterFest was spent up the road at Trinity Lake. We numbered about twenty including three teeny weenies. The next year we went to Calaveras Big Trees and found Beaver Creek; we numbered about twenty-five. The following year we were in Mendocino County. Then my mother-in-law offered her “back forty” which is about half an hour from our place in Trinity County. It offered a fabulous creek deep enough to swim in, plenty of room for tents, and showers at her house a quarter mile up the road. Most of all, not only was it free, it was private. This is important because we are loud -- very, very loud. How could we say no?
|Guinness with Canyon and his 5 gallon water bottle|
|The Captain enjoying Ritterbrau|
|Wonder who they're aiming for... probably Uncle Captain|
|Sisters-in-law waiting for our Cabana Boys|
We engage in other activities than eating such as crafts for the kids, cards and other table games, and giving the kids rides on Uncle James’ dirt bike. At the end of the road there is a beautiful hike to the Falls which we do one morning before it gets too hot. The surroundings are beautiful. This part of the canyon is almost completely unspoiled since the gold mining days 150 years ago. In fact, something the kids love is discovering the occasional artifact from days gone by. This year The Boy found a rusted railroad spike and wanted to know if we could look for antique finger prints. Too cute.
Brother Eric is an accomplished, self-taught guitar player. Most years he and I start six months in advance working on which song(s) we are going to perform and which others we are going to lead for group singing. Over the years we have accumulated a popular playlist. However, this year, Brother Eric was not available to practice due to work, etc. and, in fact, wasn’t able to attend RitterFest. He was sorely missed by everyone all day but especially while we were sitting around the campfire. The Eagles Greatest Hits playing repeatedly on a car stereo had to suffice. Not quite the same.
We start planning next year’s event while we’re still at this year’s. The date is set in January and everyone asks for the time off from work right away. Brother Eric and I usually start practicing songs shortly thereafter. The Captain begins the Ritterbrau (his homebrew) four to six months in advance so it’s perfect for the event. Soon he’ll also be redesigning and building a larger “Ref-Ritter-ator” (self-contained, fully-insulated, non-electric, portable kegerator that will hold a fifteen gallon keg since ten gallons was not enough). Nephew Vas begins work on the logo in June so Sister Lorna can order the T-shirts. Sister Jeri makes enough jelly to feed us all and send some home. Adult and wee Ritters look forward to RitterFest all year long.
If you’re interested in being invited, Brother Eric is single, early 40s and cute. You’ll have to marry him first. J