Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Party On The Beach

My youngest brother Tim and his three sons traveled this past week from his home state of South Dakota to Hubbard Lake in upper Michigan for their annual vacation. My mother then called to invite my wife Wendy and I to join them for a weekend. My parents would be there as would be my sister and her husband.

But when I found out my sleeping quarters would be inside a tent pitched on their property (they had an extra single bed for Wendy in my sister's adjacent cabin), I balked. My parents' cabin sits a stone's throw away from the beach, owned by a collective of property owners. Weekends always finds parties on the beach, often going late into the night.

And since this was the weekend of the annual property owners' association meeting, there would be an especially big alcohol-fueled affair. It would be like pitching your tent and trying to turn in for the night on the 50-yard-line during the Super Bowl.

"Your dad says he will stay out in the tent with you," my mother offered. It would be a good father-son bonding experience, she said. Oh, well. Guess we would be joining the crush of Michiganders on the road driving north this weekend. A four-hour one-way trip for us, but a rare chance to visit with my brother and his family.

And so we did. We played a nice family volleyball game, geezers versus the goobers, where the older generation with no one younger than 47 swept three games from my brother's teenaged boys and some teenaged friends from the area. My father at 77 still can hit some nifty volleyball shots. My brother thanked us more than once for coming up and joining in the fun.

The property owners association met, elected officers, discussed the beach, then gathered for a potluck at the waterfront picnic area. As Wendy and I left for a drive around the lake to scout for deer, they were passing around shots of Jaegermeister. We returned after seeing five deer including a fawn.

Meanwhile, the party on the beach continued on, growing in volume. After chatting and toasting marshmallows in front of our own campfire, I was ready to turn in. Tim said he would go down to the beach to tell the revelers to "keep it down." Then he would join me and two of his sons in the tent--dad had dropped out and was now sleeping inside the cabin. So much for father-son bonding.

But inside the tent, it still sounded like those on the beach were trying to talk to someone on the other side of the lake rather than the person standing right front of them. After a while, one of the voices sounded familiar. It was my brother Tim. If you can't beat 'em, join 'em, right? Oh, well. I was so tired I fell asleep anyway.

Some time later I woke up to voices sounding more excited than usual. Somebody's boat was floating off into the lake. Fell back asleep. Later, woke up again. This time it sounded like I was at a county fair tractor pull; some car engine was gunning full throttle. Looked out the tent and saw that somebody had failed to successfully navigate out of the beachfront parking lot and had backed into a ditch.

They tried rocking the car, pushing it--somebody even sprawled himself over the hood to put more weight on the wheels. The spinning tires just carved a bigger divot into the sod. Finally, they located a chain in my father's shed, hooked it to a bigger vehicle, and pulled it free. I heard it all happen. My brother Tim came into the tent afterwards, his shirt speckled with mud from when he gallantly tried to push the errant vehicle free.

Inside my parents' cabin, my mother thought she heard other noises. Small noises, like a critter might make. She wondered whether one of her grandsons had left an outside door open letting a racoon inside. (Perhaps to take cover from all the racket outside.) My dad checked however and found nothing.

Next morning I wondered whether the property owner's association might take action to curb some of the excesses of these celebratory gatherings. Maybe show some moral leadership. Then again, maybe not. The guy who backed his car into the ditch? He's the new president.

P.S. I always have my wife Wendy preview my blogs before I publish them. Here was her comment on this one . . .

"Good story. And I slept thru it all. Snug as a bug in a rug."


Anonymous vicki said...

Lucky Wendy. Sounds like the night of many noises and frankly, I would rather hear critters than revelers.

About the Lake Superior trip- I love that stretch of shoreline and Doogie is correct when it comes to bears. They definitely forage along there.

13 hours was a slight exaggeration only in that it is 11 hours drive time if there's no traffic around Bay City/ Saginaw and you don't get behind slow trucks in the stretch going up around Sceney. For us, from A2, it was 5 to the bridge, 4.5 across and another 1 up to Gratiot Lake. They are in the tip of the Keweenaw, about Houghton/Hancock. By the time we stop for gas, a meal and a quick dip along the shore to wake us up- it was always 13, minimum.

12:14 PM  
Blogger Blindsighted One said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

12:50 PM  
Blogger Blindsighted One said...

I like your stories a lot. Please keep it up!

12:51 PM  
Blogger Kacey said...

You are officially a "geezer"! Actually, it sounded like a bunch of fun, but you're no "Summertime Guy",--- definitely not a cool operator when the heat is on! When sleep becomes a priority over a beach party, you are over the hill in any language. And for shame, Wendy --- she didn't want to spend a night in a tent with a cool dude like you?

4:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

4:14 PM  
Blogger Jeffrey said...

That is not a "Ditch" it is a "Creek" and I pay the property tax to prove it!

4:19 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Capt. Chaous here really its just your DAd, Dave I told you, and told, never listen to your Mother.

4:32 PM  
Blogger LZ Blogger said...

Big Dave... somehow I knew I'd like your wife's sense of humor! zzzz zzzz zzzz!!! ~ jb///

5:54 PM  
Blogger Lee said...

lol Great story, Dave! Oh! Dear! I can't stop laughing!

6:33 PM  
Blogger Babette said...

I believe that one should always listen to one's mother.

Your Wendy must have a clear conscience, indeed!

I left a little present for you at my place, even though you cast aspersions on my reason for leaving the world of blog madness.

7:41 PM  
Blogger Babette said...

Those critters couldn't have been wolverines?!

7:42 PM  
Blogger Carine said...

well Dave, I loved the story. As for Wendy sleeping through it all-Power to her! I haven't slept in 27 years (sleep w/ a prince who snores, so critters would probably do me in as well)

9:39 PM  
Blogger Peter said...

Good story Dave, just got news of the bridge collapse over there, hope it wasn't too close to you.

3:14 AM  
Blogger Blindsighted One said...

Dave -- I'm so sorry I deleted my initial comment. I thought it would be misconstrued given what my blog is about.

I like your stories a lot. I think they definitely make you above average. Don't sell yourself short!

I hope this makes up for the initial deletion.

9:42 AM  
Blogger Lisa said...


Great story! Although I do admit, I'm kind of on Kacey's side with this one...I'd probably be on the beach, too...and as long as there were no bears, I'd enjoy some tent action with my hubby. ;)

1:40 PM  
Blogger OldHorsetailSnake said...

So how many Jaegermeisters did it take to put you wife out like a light? Or, as she says, bug in a rug.

4:56 PM  
Blogger simply me said...

Hi Dave - Sounds like you are having an adventuresome summer.....
I also slept in a tent for 5 days when I went to Indiana in July. Thanks for sharing your ever so humorous times with your family - they always make me smile....

6:41 AM  
Anonymous Gabe said...

Sounds like fun times in Hubbard lake as usual. Capt. Chaos? I guess that is a fitting nickname given that his ability to do simple computer tasks can get a little chaotic at times. I never got your email Capt. Chaos, what happened?

7:49 AM  
Blogger Lucy Stern said...

Tell Wendy "Next time you can sleep in the tent and I'll take the cabin." I think I am getting too old for tent sleeping. I would need a nice cot and an air-conditioner. Maybe it's not so bad in Michigan but here in Texas it would be pretty hot.....Glad I wasn't there.

BTW: No big screen TV's at Home Depot. The new freezer is great and I can't wait to try the new dish washer. TF is getting better and he's itching to go back to work.

5:41 PM  
Anonymous squirrel said...

What a great post! I felt as though I was there! You're getting to be kind a damn good writer Dave!

10:55 PM  
Anonymous schnoodlepooh said...

I wouldn't be able to put up with that going on all night long. Your wife had the best deal of all.

3:04 PM  
Blogger Matty said...

Well Dave,
I think I'd be with your brother on this one..why sleep when there's a party going on? You can't beat them...well yes, join them. Sounds like you had a great time...and Yahoo for the great games you played.
Hope you took some pics. It's wonderful to hear what great shape your dad is in! Never too old to have fun.

7:21 PM  
Anonymous Terri said...

Sounds like a rowdy group
But also sounded like a good time was had by all. Minus the father/son bonding.
Your dad is my kind of person....we all have our priorities. Mine happens to be COMFORT.

1:12 PM  
Blogger MSU gal said...

sounds like a blast!

on a particular noisy night around the Fourth of July I grew mometarily frustrated by the firecrackers all over my neighborhood and people partying in the middle of the night--all while I was attempting to sleep...then it dawned on me--when it is frigid cold outside it will be quiet and then I will sleep, longing for the sounds of summer.

7:16 PM  
Anonymous enforcer said...

I alway's travel with ear plug's.

7:01 AM  
Anonymous 3 teenage goobers said...

we lost those 3 vollyball games, to make the geezers feel good about themselves. i see it worked.

4:12 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


11:04 PM  

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