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October 04, 2004 - 5:22 pm

WELCOME TO JELLYSTONE PARK

We went camping this weekend with two other couples just north of Dahlonega at this nice little place called Dockery Lake, which is really just a pond stocked with trout. It’s perfect for camping with kids because they have a better chance of catching something in a lake than a stream, and John and I have a better chance of fishing at all because we’re not constantly untangling their lines from overhanging branches.

The husband halves of all three couples could easily be triplet sons of different mothers. They all are strong candidates for ADD, they outdo each other with the best gear and highest tech gizmos, they all make insane plans that probably never will happen but very well could, they are all “creative types,” and none of them knows when to stop anything. All these traits are exciting and fun when you are single but blossom into catalysts for murder and/or dismemberment after you give birth to actual children.

Julie and Alan brought their four-year-old son; Denise and Tryon had their son who is almost two; and my Girl and Boy each brought a friend. So while in theory we were six adults and six children, in reality I was one adult with four kids. Actually, all the kids were great sports, and only the Boy’s friend who had never camped before needed a little extra attention.

While preparing dinner at dusk Saturday night, we realized we were short a trout or two, so John and Julie and I took the canoe out for some additional rations. Julie and I each had one within five minutes (sinking rapala – that’s all I’m saying), but stayed out a little longer just because it was so perfect.

Then after putting the bambinos to bed, we stayed up late sitting around a blazing inferno talking, laughing, and drinking way too much wine and beer, and, in Alan’s case, Wild Turkey. We were all telling funny stories, and at one point I was trying to explain a recent visit to a chiropractor and why his strength testing was bogus. (If you’ve never been to a chiropractor, they check your health by touching a part of your body with one hand and test the resistance strength of your outstretched arm with the other – the theory being strength=health, weakness=sickness.) But this guy always has a predetermined result and facilitates the desired strength/weakness by the way he pushes your arm. If he wants you to be weak, he pushes straight down; if he wants you to be stronger, he pushes down at an angle toward your body. Alan asked how that made a difference, and I started in with, “Well, anyone with a remote working knowledge of the Cartesian coordinate system knows that applying a force at…” And that’s when Alan fell out of his chair from laughing his ass off – or from the Wild Turkey, we’re not sure. John reassured me he knew where I was going with the whole vector thing, but I couldn’t help feeling like I was in that 5% range again and stayed quiet for a while trying to figure out what all the cool kids are talking about these days. Much laughter. It was a great time.

Apparently, when we eventually crawled into our respective tents, we left EVERYTHING outside: cameras, matches, food, chairs, books, shoes – you name it.

You already see where this is going, don’t you?

It rained suddenly, unexpectedly, and with fervor for about an hour just before dawn Sunday morning – a rather rude awakening, I should add. John and I must have been the least hung over, because we were able to get up and get most of the important stuff out of the rain. Somehow everyone got discombobulated with the onset of the monsoon, and we decide to go to breakfast rather than attempt to light the stove (the one with a valve that John had sealed with toothpaste the day before) with wet matches. Never mind about the two burners in Denise and Tryon’s pop-up camper. Remember, discombobulation and hangovers.

Well, by the time we got our proverbial shit together enough to go – where we did not know, mind you – it was nearly 11:00 and the sun was shining. Julie’s car wouldn’t start, so the twelve of us all piled in the remaining three vehicles, irritable and hung over, when Julie-the-voice-of-reason asks, “Why exactly are we going out to breakfast, again?” Of course, no one really knew anymore so we turned around and unloaded the cars. Alan made bacon and scrambled eggs, Denise heated up the chili, and I proceeded to make the Greatest Breakfast Sandwich of All Time: a flour tortilla filled with three strips of bacon, a mound of cheese-scrambled eggs, topped with chili and several generous dashes of hot sauce. I did this not once, my friends, but twice. And I would have done it again but the taunting and ridicule from my peers got the better of me, and I caved. In retrospect this was probably for the best, as I have urgently rushed to the bathroom in cold sweats three times since then.

Julie’s car never did start despite the fiddling and poking by John, Alan, and Tryon. Alan ended up making a trip to the automotive store for spark plugs (although it may be the timing belt or the fuel pump), so Julie and I finally headed back around 3:30 with the Girl and the two borrowed children before their parents called the police on us for kidnapping (as if I’d want two more). Denise and Tryon left soon after Julie and I, and upon determining they were not equipped with the proper automotive maintenance knick-knacks, John and Alan abandoned said vehicle and started back with their two boys. He’s up there again right now waiting on a tow truck.

Anyway, it was a pretty swell time overall, I smelled bad, and here are some pictures to prove it:


Here are the kids: the Girl, her friend, and the Boy.


This is Julie early Saturday morning. Isn't she pretty?


This is Alan cooking an amazing dinner for us Saturday night.


This is one of John (or is that Buddah?) and me just before we got too drunk to sit up.


And here I am getting a line in before leaving Sunday.

~Samantha

recommended:
reading -Trout: An Illustrated History by James Prosek
viewing -
listening -"And It Stoned Me" by Van Morrison

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