This weekend, I found myself at a post-wedding reception reception at Laurelhurst Park, accompanied by my child and an elderly comrade. I’m sure I’ve discussed my disdain for yuppies, the wealthy, and their winding roads, but I’ll restate it here as well: Don’t get me wrong. Portland’s Laurelhurst neighborhood is lovely and scenic beyond compare, but goddamn if I don’t get lost in that motherfucker every time.

Such is my romance with Laurelhurst, and so my child, friend, and I parked our cars and entered the park in search of the picnic area alluded to in the invite. Very quickly and with little effort, we found a picnic area populated by a jovial group of humans; we approached and quickly realized we didn’t recognize any of them.

Rather than taking a hike of uncertain length with an old man who uses a cane, we stationed my friend on a park bench, while the kid and I ran reconnaissance. Having successfully located a park map and, with some effort, the “You Are Here” arrow, we deduced that we were clearly on the opposite side of the park. So we returned to the cars and, five minutes later, arrived at the correct picnic area, where the bride, groom, and friends awaited us.

We entered on a discussion about the US Army and their use of camels from 1836 until 1864, when the US was camel-blocked by the Civil War. This conversation was cut short by the arrival of a couple with custom made cornhole platforms, another couple with a bocce set, and a third couple with the United Nations of adoptive children. I opted out of the cornhole tournament, but lost a fine game of bocce.

Laurelhurst Park proved to be uniquely unsuited to bocce play, with its beautiful slopes, undetectable turns, bumps, and what seemed to be patches of alternative physics. Making matters worse, balls are irresistible to small children, one of whom I successfully brought to tears by politely asking her to step out of the path of a flying, hard plastic orb.

According to the invitation, there would be “some alcohol and N/As.” “Some alcohol” referred to a selection of light, warm-weather beers, and “N/As” referred to tangerine flavored La Croix. N/A, as it turns out, stands for non-alcoholic in the mind of the new groom. For the rest of us, it was a mystery until the first can of La Croix was opened. Of all the food stuffs offered, the real standout was the Kettle chip buffet, with flavors ranging from dill pickle and jalapeno to salsa and garden vegetable.

Overall, it was a lovely day in the park with delightful company and plenty of laughs, and something I can’t recall even though I took the following note: “Everyone takes a dick to the face sometimes. It’s just a part of growing up.” I haven’t the slightest clue what that was about, but it must have earned this post-reception reception 10 points out of a possible 10.

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