Friday, August 11, 2006

Letters to Melissa - Piney Lake (Part II)

Dear Sweet Melissa*:

Okay, I've told you about the first four parts of camping. Now, for the fifth part.

The fifth part of camping is, perhaps, the most important. This is the part where the "newbies" (those who are camping for the first time or are camping for the first time with US) sip their favorite beverage as the whole group stares into the magnificent fire with the close and holy darkness of forest caressing each of us, with the divine lightshow above--the ten-billion stars, pulsating, alive and framed by the tops of pines that surround the campfire. (Often, it's necessary to take a little walk out to the dirt road fity yards from the campsite, to actually see the astral fantasmagoria above.) It is, you see, incumbent upon the newbies to bare their souls before the round of boys sitting before the campfire. Those are the rules.

Baring one's soul has, in the past, focused on things as trivial as what one has loaded into their iPod or, indeed, what or whom one has, um, intimately interacted with in the most recent past--lovers, boyfriends, partners aside.

Now, dear heart, let me tell you that the newbies are not required to reveal anything. They're simply urged to do so as a right of passage necessary to the particular camping experience we've all come to love since we started the same (for David and me, just a year ago) but for John and Fred and whomever they've coaxed into the hills for years and years past, yes, this right of passage has been around for a while.

Okay. Here's a primer on what the newbie tell-all entails. Well, see, I was in this bar and they had strippers, okay?, and the strippers weren't really strippers but they were, well, boys for hire and all I had was twenty bucks and, well, twenty bucks don't get you laid in Denver, buckaroo--no matter how pretty you are--and, well, I had to go to the ATM and it was out of money and then I had to go to the bartender with a check for $200 bucks and he cashed it and then I went looking for him, the beauty who'd smiled at me, and, damn, I couldn't find him, so I went to the tubs, to the baths and the sights there were probably as disgusting as--tee hee--the group around this campfire and, well, I just went home and satisfied myself and fell asleep immediately without any actual physical contact with anyone, save myself and, well...

Ah, Sweet Melissa. You don't really need to know about this factor five of the camping experience. I think most of those tales told around the campfire are enhanced for affect anyway. And, besides, the doggies that have experienced this fifth component of the camping experience just sleep through it all, not caring a whit for the content or, indeed, recognizing bullshit when they hear it.

*Sweet Melissa was the absolute joy of David's and my life for twelve years and ten months. When her osteoarthritis became so bad that she literally could not stand up, she went to heaven, with the blessings of us all...

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