Respect and love were in abundance as the family of Phillip Camille gathered to celebrate his 80th birthday.
The event was planned as a surprise, and amazingly (for a small community like Dog Creek) no one spilled the beans, (prematurely).
In fact, right about the time that the celebration was due to begin (11 a.m. March 16) the guest of honour (Phillip Camille) was out walking with his dogs.
He was spotted by several party-goers who had arrived a bit early and decided to drive further, down the valley, past the building where the party was to be held.
When they saw Phillip they realized the surprise-factor was still holding.
Phillip, however, was likely a little puzzled by the coincidence of seeing several old friends taking the same Saturday drive on the same Saturday in March.
His children/grandchildren and other family had been planning for a while, and Phillip informed me, at the party, that in hindsight, “I realize now that my family has been doing a fair bit of whispering, some fibbing and even a bit of lying for a while now, but I never caught on (to the reason for it).”
He said the surprise party also explained another odd occurrence, a free haircut that he couldn’t figure the reason for.
“I went for a haircut last week and when I went to pay, they wouldn’t take my money,” Camille said.
“They told me it was my 80th birthday present. I didn’t have a clue how they knew it was my birthday. Now, I know about the announcement. It was in the Tribune.”
The event began with some visiting, lots of guests catching up with acquaintances and family members not seen or visited with in a while.
Then Phillip`s son Warren Camille announced that lunch was ready.
Grace was said by his son Keray Camille and the feast began. There was turkey, ham, beef, game meat, salmon, vegetables, casseroles and salads of every type, enough food to feed many more than the 100-plus guests that were in attendance.
After everyone had eaten their fill, the group sang Happy Birthday to Phillip and he blew out his cake candles.
Then the cake, which featured a cowboy photo of Phillip on horseback and his dog, read Happy 80th Birthday Xpe7e (grandfather), was cut and served with ice-cream by his grandchildren and great grandchildren.
As the cake was being consumed, the musicians, Thomas Sampson (vocals/guitar) and Les Johnson (vocals/fiddle) of Alkali Lake, along with their technician/sound man/helper, William Johnson, set up their equipment and began to play some dancing music.
A little bit country, a little bit rock n`roll, the duo, are former members of the Nitehawks and Creeshu, and soon had people of all ages up and dancing.
A great time was enjoyed by guests of all ages.
Celebrating with him were friends and many former co-workers at the Circle S Ranch, some of whom became life-long friends.
Sitting with him at the head table were friends, Eric Archie, Hank Krynen, and Eric and Diann Reay.
This group all made lasting friendships during their employment at various times on the Circle S where they spent many memorable days and years and had many adventures together.
It was a wonderful day. Phillip never stopped smiling and the Camille family would like to thank all those who helped out and everyone who came to the celebration.