A Fireside Chat?

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

I Hear Banjos

I Hear Banjos

I don’t mean to whine but some of the campsites we have stayed in leave a lot to be desired.

On Monday, at the end if a very long day that included being lost with “Wrong Way Broderick” on a slithering mass of gravel which snaked its way through acres and acres of cotton and bean (local pronunciation: bain) fields, I walked into a camp office to register and was offered greetings and salutations by a big, blue striped bum!

Closer inspection revealed that it was not some dissembled ass that was speaking in tongues; the rest of the man eventually emerged from under the reception desk waiving a handful of wires -- his “internet connection – which, if I heard him right, became a useless snarl after a wind storm last Sunday. Now I’m not sure what one thing had to do with the other but one look at his red and sweating face told me not to question his reasoning. For one thing I couldn’t quite understand him (have you ever seen that Kia commercial?) and for another there was something about his expression and the strangle hold he had on those Medusa’s locks that suggested he was about at the end of his rope. I didn’t dare ask but I was pretty sure that the snarl of wires translated into another night without the benefit of e-mail!

After registering, the man climbed into a golf cart with a huge sign that read: “FOLLOW ME” and led us to a barren patch of half grass half gravel about thirty feet from the office. It had a spigot sticking out of the ground beside a post with an electrical connection. For thirty five dollars we had ourselves a little piece of hell in the middle of nowhere where the sun beat down with unrelenting intensity, the tree frogs croaked a dusty song and the mosquitoes were as big as birds.

I stood looking out across the adjacent cotton field and shuddered. Here we were in hell without a single neighbor, no telephone and at the mercy of a man with hands the size of hams. Suddenly I could hear “dueling banjos” and for just a moment I was tempted to run but as I stood there the banjo music in my head was replaced with the real life sound of tires on gravel approaching and when the plume of dust had settled there stood the man in the blue striped overalls with a half of fresh watermelon. Once again I am reminded that you cannot judge a book by its cover.

After a very restful night we left as soon as the fog lifted.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Smores: some sort of chocolate, marshmallow thing or: That which separates us from the Neanderthals

Last weekend Cath and I took part in an ancient ritual that has drawn folks together for a couple of hundred thousand years: the campfire!

Now, what I know about the history of the campfire could be inscribed on the knee of a bee but I expect that the partakers of the campfire ritual in ancient times were forced into it for a variety of reasons not least of all no central heating, no microwaves, no newspapers and finally: NO TELEVISION. The campfire provided what was lacking in so far as it kept people warm, gave them a means to cook dinner, become informed and I expect, like our campfire on the weekend, it kept people entertained.

The highlight of our evening was just spending time with our two best, childhood cronies Cathy P. (the p is for clarity) and Peg. But the four of us have done that before and though it is always a celebration of life and of friendship there was something quite unique about sitting in the dark, until the wee hours, sharing everyday “ghost stories”, blackened wieners and the coup de grace: “smores” that will be remembered long, long after the intensity of our common embers begin to glow less brightly though always with warmth.

I’m not sure what it is but there is some mesmerizing demand and reciprocal obedience between the campfire and the mortal. And the campfire is an ancestral linkage that draws civilizations together over time. It is the fire that unites the spirit of modern humans in lawn chairs with smores with their ancient counterparts who most probably sat cross legged in the dirt with pterodactyl wings dripping from sticks over the open pit.

FIRE . . . it is a good thing . . .

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

My New Bed

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So this is what it has come to . . .

This is my new bed . . . compliments of Rubber Maid. That’s one of my new pillows that I still haven’t adapted to but I am working on it, and hey: when compared to my new bed, my new pillows are a dream (no pun intended).

My old bed left last Friday along with our family room furniture (that’s me in the lawn chair watching the news on Saturday morning and trying to wake up after the first night on my “new” bed). Our patio furniture is gone too. I think that it is time for us to move into Gertie except that she has to go in this week for an oil change, new filters etc. before we can move in.

We are still packing, un-packing and re-packing trying to prioritize, trying to be reasonable about what should go and what we should simply find storage for and leave behind for another year. And OMG what do we do with the really big TV? We could put it on the bed in Gertie since I now know that it is possible, with enough padding, to stretch out on Rubbermaid containers, although I have to say that I wouldn’t recommend it as it does leave you feeling a little punchy and insensible in the morning.

We’ve also done a little cooking to try and load up Gertie’s freezer with some things that would make some reasonably healthy meals that also taste good at the end of a days driving without going to a lot of trouble. Mike: did you know that your recipe for Fettuccini al Coccio-Fettuccini with Creamy Porcini Mushrooms and Pancetta Sauce freezes beautifully? It’s certainly not as good as yours but we love it still! You have brought new meaning to gluten free pasta!

And we have been shopping.

Let see . . . we have a ton of cheese, we’ve got some cereal; some for me and some for friends, and some cinnamon sticks. The bucket of maple syrup and bags (?) of summer sausage will be in our possession within a week.

Cath has gone in for her second to last day of work this morning and will be finished forever on Wednesday afternoon . Yeah!!!!! We haven’t started any sort of official count down yet but the day of departure draws near and we still have so much to do and then: the goodbyes . . .

Beds by Rubbermaid

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Monday, September 1, 2008

What Day is it?

Are the wrinkles in my face from my new pillow or is that a Rubbermaid Logo embossed into my forehead?


This is MY Giraffe and I don't want it Packed!


Soon to be Our Home on Wheels