Sunday, February 13, 2011

Four Friends, Forty Ounces, And The Funniest Tarp I Ever Met

It's May, 1999. Steven F and Derrick have already made the trip to the camp, before there was a camp of course. They will set up a campsite, and Steven B and I will join them. Work, once again, has gotten in the way for us.

Steven and I take off Friday at 6:00 pm. Our only stop is the liquor store. A pint and a forty of rum and we are on the way. Now keep in mind. We had no camp. No set meeting spot, no cell phone service. We got there at 8:00 pm, and it is dark. Too dark to walk anywhere, and we didn't even know where. Steven cracks the pint and in a few short minutes, it is only a memory. From there we are unsure of what to do. My Toyota truck was a single cab. Can't sleep there. We could set a tent up near the truck, but we have no fire, no stove, nothing. I honk the horn of the truck, hoping someone hears. I honk a few more times. Ten minutes later, Steven F. comes out of the path with a flashlight. We are saved. Sort of.

We get to the campsite. It is a tent, a portable table for the stove, and a big campfire. A tarp was placed from tree to tree to give cover from the rain, which has fallen all week long and continues into the weekend. We open the forty. It is gone almost as quick as the pint. Needless to say, we are not sober. Not at all. We stand and tell stories under the tarp. Rain collects on it as we speak. From nowhere, the edges folds down and dumps a gallon of water on Derricks head. Laughing is not a great description of what we did. We lost composure. We laughed until parts of us hurt.

We fix the tarp, and Derrick wisely moves to the other end. Another 40 minutes or so pass, Derricks cigarette gets dashed by more water than dumped on him the first time. Again, we lost it. Worse this time.

That is about the last thing I remember from that night. Steven B and I set up our tent. I know that because we woke up in it. I also know we put waders on to keep us dry from the downpour. I know, because I woke up wearing them. We wake at about 5 AM. It is first early light hitting the tent. I can feel it tearing through my not yet opened eyes. I give Steven a nudge. "Time to get up". I get a mumble in return, and then a "yeah, lets go fishing".

I move my feet. I hear splashing. Steven moves his feet. We hears splashing. I move mine again. Same result. We look down, and we laugh harder than we did the night before with the tarp. We set the tent up near the edge of the lake. The lake has a marshy side and the bottom edge of the tent was down into a wet hole. When we looked down, water was over our sleeping bags, up to our waists. Our state the night before ignored or simply never noticed that.

We fished hard the next two days, and we did well. The rain hampered us but in the times it stopped, the fishing was hot. Occasionally this story still comes up around a drink at the camp. Four younger fools, who are now four older fools. A lot has changed since then. Some good, some not. I think another trip for all four of us at the same time is in order. It has been too long.