Do not let your significant other shop for glasses unchaperoned.
The year was 1995. The month was August.
Marguerite, my sister in law, had just introduced me to her grandmother in a recliner and we three were seated inside her grandmother's tiny cottage that was nestled on Lake Mary, located in the Upper Peninsula.
"And then," Marguerite went on to explain, "we're going to spend tonight down below in Mom and Dad's cabin. Pitter and Sven, oh, Sven is Millie's husband, are getting things situated right now. In the morning we're heading for The Sylvania Trek. That's up in the boundary waters, Grandma."
"Oh my," her grandma said. "Would you girls like some lemonade?"
Sure," answered Marguerite.
Then there was a loud hummmmmmmmmmmmmmm. Next, Marguerite's grandmother and Marguerite's grandmother's chair began rising and then they started tipping forward and not until Marguerite's grandmother and her grandmother's chair were both at exactly ninety degree angles did the hummmmmmmmmming stop. Then Maguerite's perpendicular grandmother stepped out of the perpendicular chair and she walked into the kitchen with her head, shoulders and back, all perfectly parallel to the floor.
And to think that I could not be swayed to believe that I would ever use geometry. Mr. Losby, I owe you an apology.
Marguerite and I followed her grandmother, towering over the walking upside down capital "L", who went to the refrigerator and pulled out a pitcher. With both hands she hoisted it up onto the counter.
"Marguerite," she said, "Get some glasses out of the cupboard."
Her grandma's jiggely arms stretched way over her head and she precisely poured three glasses of lemonade.
Marguerite and I carried the refreshments back into the living room and sat down.
Margeurite's grandmother went to her chair, turned around and faced us. She then touched her fanny to the cushion. The hummmmmmmmmmmmming began again. And then that chair and that grandmother slowly began tipping backwards and then lowering and at the exact moment that they were both sitting in an upright position, the hmmmmmmmmmmmming stopped.
"So, where are boundary waters?" she said.
A few minutes later Marguerite and I were skipping down the hill to the cabin on the lake.
"You could have told me that your grandma was bent in half," I said.
We both cracked up.
The next morning the four of us got into our bogged-down-by-canoes-and-essentials-for-boundary-water-camping, cars and we took off.
Reflections of the early morning sun bounced off Sven's shiny, new, gold, aviators and blinded me.
"So, what made you pick gold?"
"Your glasses. What's with the gold rims?"
"I don't know. Why, don't you like them?"
"How long till we get to Watersmeet?"
"Probably an hour and a half."
We were pleased that the boundary waters were so clear, as we sat in the canoes that were now crammed with all the essentials we'd dragged along.
We pulled out the maps to get our bearings and soon we were paddling our way toward our pre-registered campsite.
Sven was busting a gut with excitement, which means he was grinning, just thinking about the all the fish we were going to catch and eat. You see, there were lots of fish to be had in the lakes of Slyvania Trek. As a matter of fact you were only allowed to use barbless hooks and no live bait was even allowed, because the fish supply was so ample.
But no bites on the way to our spot.
An eagle flew overhead and a loon watched us glide past and the August sun felt warm on our backs.
Sven switched lures again. So did I. So did Pitter. So did Marguerite.
We found the site.
There was a short, steep hill and then a picnic table and then another short, steep hill, with a few flat stone stairs dug into it's side.
We dragged the canoes half on shore and began unloading the gear.
Sylvania Trek had a lot of rules. Rules that we weren't accustomed to; no motors, no glass, no aluminum, no live bait.
But the trade off?
The water was safe to drink with only the drop of a magical pill. And the lush, uninhabited, scenery was spectacular.
We set up our campsite and explored the peninsula via the spongy path that wove it's way through the ancient forest.
We were told that it is so quiet in the boundary waters, that if a tree falls, and they do because they are very old, it can be heard for miles.
The rest of the afternoon we paddled around the area and we fished.
And we fished and we fished.
But, no keepers.
No matter. We still had a whole night and a brand new day in front of us.
So, we returned to our home away from home to prepare some dinner.
Sven went down the steep embankment and paddled out to fill up the community, water jug. As he pulled the full jug out of the lake to bring into the canoe, the canoe suddenly did a flip from all the extra weight and everything that had been in the canoe, as in Sven, ended up in the lake, backwards, feet last.
Sven resurfaced to the blurry sight of his doubled over friends and wife and the sound of uncontrolled howling and laughter.
And guess what? Those Elton John impersonators of his, were no longer on his face.
But then, damn it to hell, they all started diving for those stupid things.
The water was clear. The water was deep. The water was cold.
I held my breath because the glasses were shiny.
They gave up.
I smiled again.
We enjoyed a delicious reconstituted meal at the picnic table and later that night we sat around a glowing campfire.
"Anyone want a Blue-Ka?" asked Pitter.
"What's a Blue-Ka?"
"It would be Blue Moon Kool-Aid and Vodka."
"Hahahahahaha. Of course!"
We drank several of Pitter's great inventions, out of tin cups.
The next morning proved to be breezy and cool.
Off we went for an all day trip, to see the wildlife and to fish the fish infested, boundary waters.
Boy it was cold. I mean it was really cold. It should not have been that cold.
And the wind was a persistent bastard.
The fish must have been stuffed to their gills.
But no matter, we kept on paddling, casting and reeling, reeling, casting and paddling.
And the wind blew.
"Maybe the wind isn't so strong on that shoreline," Sven would say. And full of hope, we would zig our canoes over to that shoreline.
And the wind blew there.
"Maybe the wind isn't so strong on that shoreline," Sven would say. And full of hope, we would zag our canoes over to the opposite shoreline.
And the wind blew there too.
"Where are all the FN' fish?" I heard Sven mutter.
It was so windy and so cold that the fish wouldn't take a bite.
We headed back to camp.
It was almost suppertime and unlike the dickhead fish, none of us thought, "Oh it's just too fucking windy and cold to eat."
"There's our site!" called out Marguerite.
"Yay!" I yelled.
We sped up our paddles to hurry up and get home, to finally warm up.
But you know what? We weren't going home. We were going to a shady campsite with a couple of tents for shelter and that evil wind that had been pestering us all day long was waiting there for us when we pulled up.
We piled out and scrambled up the hill.
Marguerite immediately disappeared into her tent.
I threw on another sweatshirt and gathered sticks and logs in a frenzied state until I had wood stacked higher than I was.
Pitter was sitting on a rock and was carving on a stick.
"Did you take that stick out of my wood pile?"
"Have you seen Sven?"
"He's down by the shore with a spoon, digging for worms."
Marguerite still hadn't come out of her tent.
I went for a jog down the spongy path.
And there it was.
I found Florida
I hugged the ground in some tall grass on a warm, sunny, spot, next to a creek, .
I rolled on my back. It was heavenly. I felt my body slow down and stop it's shaking from the cold. I slit one eye just enough to see that there was a large patch of blue overhead.
"You must go get Marguerite
," I heard my asshole conscious say.
I sprang to my feet and I ran back through the dark and windy trail, yelling, "Marguerite, I found Florida. Marguerite, I found Florida."
She was standing outside her tent.
"What happened to you?" I said.
"What are you wearing?"
"I'm wearing everything I brought."
"What were you yelling?"
"I found Florida. Hurry."
She ran one step behind me through the shady of Land of Oz, and all of a sudden, there it was again.
ALLELULJIA! ALLELULJIA! ALLELULJIA!
We jumped onto that beckoning circle of light and we soaked up all the sun that we could for five glorious minutes.
And then Florida went south.
Feeling a bit renewed, we returned to camp and found Sven and a bunch of illegal worms and Pitter holding a freshly carved pipe filled with weed and a snapping and a crackling fire.
We then enjoyed another fantastic, reconstituted dinner.
And then Sven stood on the shore, casting and bitching and bitching and casting. Even his live jail bait couldn't lure one of those sons of bitches out of that lake.
Well, guess what?
The wind picked up some more and then it started to rain.
But, not to worry.
"Who wants a Black Jack?" said Pitter.
"What's a Black Jack?"
"Well, that would be Black Cherry Kool-Aid and Jack Daniels."
So, we huddled together under the leaky, blue tarp with our tin cups, hoping no trees would fall on our campsite and crush us to death, and we stayed there until all the Black Jacks, were no more.
The next morning it was time to pack up and go home.
But instead, those persistent divers started diving for Sven's stupid glasses again.
They did manage to find a couple of shiny lures on the bottom.
But luck was on my side. Sven's freaky, neon-gold, aviators were never recovered.
On our return, we learned that we had a brand new little nephew named, Christophe. And our heroic story about surviving the cold and the wind and the rain and catching no fish, meant absolutely NOTHING to my sister Louisa, who'd been in labor as long as we'd been gone, because the doctor failed to realize that her vagina was still being held shut with a stitch that should have previously been removed.
[one_half_last]And by the way, Sven is at it again.
You can lead a man to a rack of cheaters, but that doesn't mean he will pick out a decent pair.
He's Elton John, minus the fame and fortune.[/one_half_last]