Getaway! Day 1

The Griswolds ain't got nothing on us.

The Griswolds ain’t got nothing on us.

The tale you are about to read is true.  Mostly.   On June 30, 2009, my partner Kate, our two year old daughter Mabel, and I packed up our Honda Civic and set out for Van Buren State Park near South Haven, MI.  During our 4 day stay, we endured less-than-ideal climatic conditions, sub-gourmet “camp food”, the occasional mosquito bite, relentless whining, and mind-bending sleep deprivation.  Oh!  What fun we had!

  • We set up camp in a partially shaded spot hemmed in by an RV with three very
    Home, Sweet Six-Man Tent

    Home, Sweet Six-Man Tent

    vocal cocker spaniels to the north of us, a tent housing a grown man who giggles to the west of us, and another tent owned by a young hippie couple to the south of us.  The hippies began mooching camping supplies from us the minute they spied our Obama bumper sticker.  As they helped themselves to our stuff (aided and abetted by Kate, ever “the nice one” of the couple), they engage us in a pushy parody of small talk.  The cocker spaniels seem very vocally agitated by their presence, which seems to set off the Giggler, himself apparently quite a connoisseur of  nuanced schadenfreude.  We build a big, smokey, obnoxious campfire as that all-important boundary-defining gesture.  Nothing says “screw you all” quite like a big, smokey, obnoxious campfire.

  • Mabel becomes enchanted with the park’s population of teensy baby ground squirrels.   Much cooing, chasing, and shrieking ensues.
  • It’s chilly here, so I change out of shorts and into pants within an hour of arrival.  But they’re not just any pants.  They’re Realtree camoflage pants.  They fit ever-so-slightly tightly and I secretly resolve to wear them every day until forced to do otherwise.
  • 71% of the population of VanBuren county is obese or overweight.  I know this because I saw it on a newspaper headline under a plastic pane of a vending machine outside the shower building.  Unfortunately, the newspaper vendor was stationed in the cold shadow of the snack machine.  Thus, the headline went tragically unnoticed by folks (and make no mistake: they are “folks”) mobbing around, exchanging change for Juju Bees and Moonpies.
  • Watching the RVs rolling in,  it ‘s hard not to feel uncomfortable in your own skin when you realize the undeniable reactionary recreational overlap you share with rednecks and the elderly.  Especially when “you” are college-educated me and you’re wearing a baseball cap and tight camoflage pants.
  • Kate, Mabel, and I play “Lost” on the beach.  I cast myself as fan-fave Sawyer (a bad ass and master of the burning put-down).  Kate, with her chestnut mane and freckles is naturally typecast as bad girl on the run Kate, and Mabel gamely agrees to take on the part of my beloved John Locke.  Kate pretends not to be mortified as I ply her with a few of Sawyer’s smarmier pick up lines while Mabel throws a handful of sand into the wind, an inspired imitation of Locke’s inscrutable dumbfuckery.
The only remaining photographic evidence of my bare legs in the state of Michigan

The only remaining photographic evidence of my bare legs in the state of Michigan

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4 Responses to “Getaway! Day 1”

  1. kelly Says:

    That is *so* Locke. Just dead-on. Your girl is clearly a genius of characterization.

    Hilarious! I especially loved The Giggler and “folks.” My sister has been encouraged to drop “folks” into news stories, e.g. “Folks in Carbondale woke to the sounds of multiple explosions,” or “72% of folks in southern Illinois are morbidly obese,” etc. And thus, folks love her.

    • hellraisin Says:

      Thank you, Kelly! I started scribbling notes on a paper plate because that was pretty much all that the weather permitted. My love of “Lost” is all-pervasive, so I’m super-jazzed the reference wasn’t lost on you. (Oh, did I just say that? Groan.) Agreed: folks do love their folksy anchorwomen.

  2. Pamela Har-Har Says:

    Mooching Hippies and vocal Cocker Spaniels…sounds like a whirwind trip to the mall with no wall(s).

    Alas, my beautiful, ruby friend…Mabel forces you let it all hang out. You can’t fake that happiness glowing in your eyes while you romped on the beach with babe and “Babe” in tow.

    I think you’re fab. You’re everyone’s inspiration…

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