“Dad said I can bring a friend with me on vacation this year, think you can go?”
Those were the first words heard that brought this 16 year old girl into, what became, one of the best adventures of her life.
Jenny was a dear friend of mine for many years. Our father’s knew each other and were friends long before Jenny and I were born. There was a group of seven couples, including our parents, which were very tightly knit. The men would go fishing once a year to some far off destination like Alaska, and at the end of their expedition we would all get together for fish frys, picnics, among other outdoor activities. So, asking dad if I could go on vacation with Jenny and her family was not a problem.
“Sure,” I said, “I‘ll ask dad tonight. Where are we going?” Jenny then informed me that her family made plans to stay in a cabin, in the state of Tennessee which was her father and mother’s home state. She mentioned that it was a rather rustic cabin that her father owned and primarily used for fishing, but that the family would stay there 1 week out of the year as a means to visit the grandparents. Of course they went on other vacations, but on this particular one Jenny wanted to bring a friend to keep her company and asked me. “Hey, that’s cool, I wouldn’t mind meeting your grandparents, sounds like something different, let me ask dad,” was all I said.
Later that night I went to my father and told him about the vacation. After speaking to him and explaining where we were going, I noticed he got this funny grin on his face when he said, “You mean Tom’s cabin in Tennessee?” I said, “Ya, why?” Dad leaned back in his chair looking at me with this smirk on his face and said, “I think it would be an excellent idea. A good learning experience. You’ll have fun. Let me speak to Tom first,” was all he said. I immediately went to the phone and called Jenny, “It’s on, we’re going to have soooooo much fun!” “I know!” Jenny said, “And I just got my license so dad said we can take the car once in awhile too!”
Well, the day finally arrived, we were all off to Tennessee. In my mind I was thinking of all the cute southern boys I would be meeting, blonde hair, blue eyes, southern drawl, who could resist such a trip. It seemed like forever getting there, but upon driving into town the only thing that came to mind was how I just wanted to take a nice hot shower, get cleaned up, and then relax a bit before making plans.
Upon arriving at the “cabin” I sat there for a minute trying to soak in what I was seeing. There it was, this rickety little shack that was barely standing, but sitting on the front porch swing was this little, silver, haired old lady, “I tried to open up the windows and clean up the place a bit before you arrived.” It was Tom’s mother, “Thanks ma, you didn’t have to, is dad at home? Thought we’d stop by later.” While Tom and his mother were talking I looked at Jenny and said, “Well, you said it was rustic.” Jenny started laughing and said, “I knew if I told you the truth you probably would have said no, and there was no way I was going to come out here by myself!” I pinched her and said, “Well, come on show me around, I have a feeling this is going to be a trip to remember.”
After showing me the cabin, I couldn’t help but feel compelled to ask, “Where’s the bathroom?” “Oh, well, ok, let me show you,” was all Jenny said. I followed her outside the cabin, down this winding path, to this little wooden hut in the middle of, what seemed to me as, a forest. “What is this?” I said looking bewildered. “The bathroom,” Jenny said. “WHAT? Are you telling me, that in the middle of the night, when I have to use the bathroom, I’ll have to hit the back 40 with a flashlight, in the middle of this forest? You all are insane!” “I promise I’ll go with you…” Jenny said, as I opened the door to the outhouse looking totally in shock. “And the shower?” I said, looking at her in total disbelief. “Oh, ya, the shower…ok, follow me.” I nearly hit the floor when we came upon this creek. “Oh no… no, no, no…I am not bathing in that creek! This is just wrong, wrong on so many different levels,” I said. “No, this is the main water source, we have to haul it up to the cabin and warm…” She didn’t even finish, as I started laughing to the point of doubling over, for now I knew why my father had that smirk on his face. Ok dad, I thought to myself, so you think I can’t do this, well you're in for a rude awakening.
Later that night, after hauling several pails of water up to the cabin in order to take a bath, I was sitting on the front porch swing with Jenny when her brother came out of the cabin, “Dad, I’ll be back later tonight.” “Wait as second, where you going?” I asked. “Out with my cousins, why?” he replied. “Can we go?” I begged, not wanting to miss anything. “Well, I can’t see why not,” he said. At that point, Jenny’s father came out on the porch, “So, what are you planning to do tonight?” He asked, when Jenny’s brother then announced, “Well, the girls asked if I would mind taking them out. I plan to meet up with the relatives, then you know…go snipe hunting.” Jenny’s father’s face froze, as Jenny and I asked in tandem, “What are snipe?” (Stay tuned for Part II)
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