Thursday, March 09, 2006

Swamped



We went to a recreation area some weekends, pulled the trailer up and spent time communing with nature. My brother and I had a different idea about what we considered communing, however.

Between the park and a small nearby town, there was a swamp and a horsemen’s camp. I was never sure if the allowed horsewomen, but I suppose they could come along as long as they didn’t bitch too much. Someone had taken the trouble to build a trail through the swamp. They even laid small logs over the icky parts, though many of these logs had slowly rotted away. You had to watch your step, which was tough because you were generally swatting at mosquitoes and deer flies while trying to cross. The term eaten alive comes to mind. It wasn’t so bad in the fall, when the cold cut down the number of pests, except for us, of course. You still had to look out for prickers, but there weren’t too many until you walked out of the swamp.

This trip was really worth the bites and scratches, because at a small store “So-and-sos Trading Post” (the place changed hand several times over the years and I have hats from at least two of those iterations to prove it) they sold smoke bombs and didn’t ask any pointed questions. We had a blast with those things mostly because we thought we were really getting away with something. We’d head on back, bombs in hand to the horsemen’s camp where sat the Aa-Aa log (pronounced Ay-uh Ay-uh). It was a hollow log that bore a resemblance to the log the cartoon Hawaiians in the Puffed rice commercial used. They kept saying Aa-Aa, hence the name. Once at the sacred Aa-Aa log, we lit some smoke bombs, pitched them in and watched tons of smoke rolling out of various holes in the log. I expect it has rotted away by now, but I will bet the inside was all different colors from the smoke bombs.

Now if you are an Enviro-Nazi I will ask you to please cover your eyes for the next paragraph or so, you’ll be happy you did later and I won’t have to listen to any bitching in the comments.

We had seen lumberjacks felling giants of the forests on TV. Most of all we liked the cool noise the tree made when it bit the dirt, literally. Next time we were in the swamp, we had dad’s trusty axe. My brother still has it, in fact. We’d pick a tree and chop it down. Good exercise, that’s for sure. It was disappointing because when the tree finally fell it got caught in the branches of another tree. There were so many trees that there was no way the tree would ever free-fall to the ground. We chopped down the tree the first one was caught in, then that one got caught in yet another. By the time we were done, sure we had chopped down a bunch of trees, but no cool noise.

Some other sports included lighting “jets” in the woods, crawfish fights, and tossing objects in the water and bombing them with rocks ‘til the floated out to sea or sank. I expect we were probably responsible for most of the rusty cans and broken glass you see on the bottom or the lake. We’d walk back to the trailer with sore arms from pitching boulders in the water, or slight burns on the hands when a .22 shell rocket went awry. It was a lot of fun, for us.

The other big fun there was dropping stuff into the crapper. Even up to a few years ago they still had two-holer out houses. Different objects made louder splashes then others, a big boulder or a coffee can full of mom’s world famous hamburger soup sounded like a depth charge. It wasn’t a comment on mom’s cooking, just that she made enough to feed us for a month. I often wondered what the poor sap that got stuck cleaning out the honey hole thought of all the foreign objects. They did make an improvement by putting in metal seats, but I prefer the old wood ones, especially in the winter. You sit on one of those metal seats when it is below zero and you forget why you came in – the sphincter clenches up so hard after your ass hits that super-cooled metal that there ain’t going to be anything happening. You just hope your backside doesn’t stick to the metal.

Our time up at the lake will always be one of my favorite memories, riding our bikes around the trail, experiments with phone headset buoyancy, swimming in the summer, trying not to crash through the ice in the winter and knocking the boards out from under the picnic tables to see the snow fly up. That also served as a great snowmobile trap – we saw one plow head on into one of the tables. That was the end of that greaser’s snowmobiling that weekend. Same with the dude that went out on the ice with his snowmobile on Thanksgiving. The water had just frozen over, not strong enough to support a snowmobile, and apparently they don’t float very well either…

Anyway, when you hit the lake I’d like to think you can still hear the joyful sounds of our laughter as another can is consigned to the briny deep or still smell the smoke from our flaming barricade…

5 Comments:

At 7:39 AM, Blogger Becky said...

What on earth would make you assume, I'm a "sweet little Becky." LMAO, I'm actually not little at all! I'm 5'10", have four older brothers that kinda taught me how to cuss a lot! LOL

Happy Friday!!! Hope you have a good weekend!

 
At 9:49 AM, Blogger Sarah Letnes said...

You should write a children's book:

The Aa-aa Log and Little Johnny Smoke Bomb

It could go on the store shelf right next to “Little Johnny Plays With Matches.”

 
At 10:03 AM, Blogger Dirk the Feeble said...

It's too bad that smoke bombs extinguish when you put them in the crapper. That seems like a combination just MADE for entertainment.

 
At 3:36 AM, Blogger SC said...

Write a book, PK. Do us all a favour.

 
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