Monday, November 8, 2010

The end of an era

This weekend was weekend two of five straight weekends at the hunting camp on Reefer Creek. The weather was superb and we had nine folks in camp including the GreenThumbChef, RangerMark, YewMasterJim, and BirdWomanJoan, with the latter being first time visitors. Bucks were seen from the stands and on the camera but no arrows flew. A long hike across the creek to visit the new park bench on Buckskins Lake, an impoundment created by the local beaver community, was undertaken and the usual excellent food and beverage were enjoyed by the crew. All was not 'beer and skittles' however because a camp icon, the trusty couch known as The Rack, was preemptively and unceremoniously dumped out in the yard and replaced by a more modern piece of furniture.

The Rack, named for its unusually firm sleeping surface which reminded some of the medieval torture implement, has been my bed since at least the Reagan administration. It has provided me with sound and solid sleep, comforted me when I had been aggressively overserved by my companions, and acted as a stylish plaid closet for my crap when I wasn't prone on it. I will admit it had some faults. There were some mice living in and on it, it does act as a repository for dead cluster flies, and the word 'lumpy' might be an understatement. I'll admit that it's also true that it was the one piece of furniture in camp that the dogs wouldn't even climb up on, and that humans rarely sat upon it, and then only for a couple minutes. But it was my little corner, my nook amongst the chaos that can ensue when 12 people are living in a 20 x 24 foot building during deer gun season. Once my head hit the rack after a day in the woods, I was out. I even slept through the legendary Pie Tin Incident where 2 or 3 guys were sitting at the table sometime after midnight, keeping a bottle of Early Times company. One of the guys glanced at an empty pie tin, picked it up, inspected it, and then smacked his companion in the forehead with it. The sound was so distinctive that a study ensued to determine which skull/pie tin combination had the best tone and resonance. Needless to say this aggravated the sleepers and a near fist fight ensued. I heard none of it in my little corner of the building.

I suppose change is inevitable. The new couch looks like it came from the rec room of some suburban home in a cul de sac, probably owned by the deputy chair of some county Republican party. It's sloppy soft, baby vomit green in color, and has all the character of a scratched up aluminum teflon frying pan. I hope this doesn't signal the onset of a modernization mindset. I'd hate to see the 1924 Detroit Jewel propane stove replaced by some '60s vintage Maytag unit, or our Somoza for Presidente poster on the wall replaced by some more progressive dictator like Daniel Ortega or Rafael Trujillo. I must admit I'm more than a little worried. We did have a NPS representative out at camp this weekend and I thought about getting Cultural Resource Management going but I fear its too late. If the usual form follows, the couch will be sat upon in the yard by drunken louts and then burned like an innocent Salem witch on the evening of November 27 at the traditional end of deer camp bonfire.

Goodby old buddy, you will be missed. It may be only by the mice, the cluster flies, and me but you had a good run. I will give the new couch a shot but I fear it will be like when Vince Lombardi was replaced by Phil Bengston after the 1968 Super Bowl. Hopes will be high but in our hearts we know we had better prepare for disappointment, failure, and inadequacy.

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