If you aren't a Sagittarian, you may wait outside.
Truth in advertising requires that I mention that since Cameron Charles Yarbrough is just turning two years old, this family tradition has not been around all that long. But we intend to make it a good one going forward for as long as I can draw breath and chew birthday cake.
Because of Cameron's very active social life, it was determined that we should party down a little early this year. That was fine with me. Other than having to rearrange my sock drawer, I have a fairly flexible schedule.
It was a birthday bash that no one in the family will forget anytime soon.
Last summer, the young man made his first trip to Saint Simons Island with his family and grandparents. Tradition is a big thing in the Yarbrough household. On the walls at what is euphemistically known as "Grandma's Beach House" - I get no respect - resides a photograph of Cameron's father, Brian, making his first trip down the boardwalk to the beach with his mother in the late '80.
The idea of getting a photo of young Cameron treading the same boardwalk as his father was a natural.
There was one big difference in the twenty-something years that had passed between the Yarbrough boys treading the beach house boardwalk. When grandson Brian made that trip, I was too busy to notice. I was your Type-A robber baron who thought it was critical to my corporation's bottom line that I be present to turn the lights on in the morning and turn them off in the evening. Otherwise, we could possibly lose a dollar on the stock price.
When it became Cameron's turn to see the silver sands of Saint Simons Island for the first time, a lot of things had happened in the interim: Retirement from BellSouth. Three whirlwind years with the Centennial Olympic Games. Cancer surgery. The loss of a grandson. The realization that I had walked the floor too many nights worrying about things that seem absurdly trivial today. A totally new perspective on what is important and what isn't.
Oh, and I had discovered the love of painting. You can teach an old dog new tricks. And this time, I was ready.
My granddaughter, Staci - actually, she is my granddaughter in-law, but when you marry into the Yarbrough family, you lose the "in-law" designation - took a photograph of Cameron and his best buddy, Pop, who doubles as his grandfather as they embarked on their initial stroll to the beach.
I decided to turn the photo into a painting.
Instead of worrying about the corporate bottom line as I had 20 years ago, this time I was worrying about how much ultramarine blue to mix with how much ocher to get the correct hue of the boardwalk and how to catch the sunlight on the two guys with a little cadmium red light and a touch of orange.
It is here that I once again applaud my art instructor, the immensely talented Kristopher Meadows of Marietta, who has patiently but firmly turned a guy imbued with more enthusiasm than talent into a pretty fair artist. He cares naught about how I once made my living. He does care that my paintings have shape, value and edges and not one stroke of compromise. (By the way, his own efforts are on display at dk Gallery on the Square. The only difference in his painting and mine is the difference between butter and butterflies.)
At the Yarbrough-Yarbrough birthday bash last week, I was able to present Pop and Cameron a painting by the Old Man that brought a tear to Pop's eye. That ain't easy. Pop doesn't cry much.
As for Cameron, he was not overwhelmed. I suppose when your parents have several zillion photographs of you on their cell phones, one painting isn't going to blow you away.
But the family believes that the picture will grow in sentimental value with him over the years. I hope it does.
If the future birthday bashes are as good as this one was, I think I am going to hang around longer than I had planned. Life doesn't get any better than this.
You can reach Dick Yarbrough at firstname.lastname@example.org or P.O. Box 725373, Atlanta, Georgia 31139.