Spent the weekend up at a friend’s house for Memorial Day. She’s that old Army friend of mine that came down the week prior, whom I talked about two posts ago.
Maggie lives out in “Where the hell?” Ohio, nestled in the south east corner, adjacent to just about nowhere.
“Takes 20 minutes to get to any place,” she joked with me when I finally arrived.
She had to escort me in from the highway and, Lord knows, I’d probably not have found the place. County routes, twisting roads, turn offs, and tiny hamlets to weave through did away with any semblance of “third left past the light” sorts of directions I was used to. Beautiful house, though; definitely remote. Cell phone was useless, so I was out of contact.
I got in Friday, the day before the rest of the gang was supposed to be in. Her boyfriend worked at the local steel mill, had another friend who was a country sheriff, an Army friend I’d never met and two single girls (which she gave me winks about), all of whom were slated to drive out for the cookout Saturday night.
She warned me to bring some work clothes—said she had some man’s work for me to get done around the property. She gave me a cowboy hat and a chainsaw and I took to the forest to find suitable wood for the bonfire. I fell two trees, chopped them up and lugged the wood in.
“Think that will be enough?” she asked, in that rhetorical sort of way.
“Guess not,” I said, and headed back out after lunch.
The other Army friend was supposed to be in around noon, but showed up just as I was hauling in the last truckload of timber. I had a hell of a pile of bark, twigs, sticks and logs. Since her house was heated by a wood stove, I figured any extra would just go to keeping her and the little one warm for the winter.
There was food to be cooked. The grill to be prepped, firstly, and the sun was already kind enough to be on its way out, which gave us our cue for when to start cooking. I let the other Army friend tend to the grill since he was bummed out about playing in the woods with the saw. I figured playing with fire would make up for it.
Boyfriend and sheriff were still at work, but the other ladies arrived, each with their dogs and daughters in tow. There was queso dip and beer to tide us over until the deer meat and hot dogs were thoroughly cooked. Definitely a country cook out.
I watched the little one quite a bit to give Maggie a chance to relax—well, a chance to tend to the hundred other things that needed to get done.
Nothing but complaints from her two “single” lady friends, though. The food wasn’t being cooked fast enough. The bonfire wasn’t lighting fast enough. They were cold. Why wouldn’t someone move a truck up and play some music? Why wasn’t someone mixing them drinks? Why wasn’t someone making them a plate?
On and on. They weren’t unattractive, but were definitely living up the fact that they were the only show in town (tiny as it is).
The dogs were also damaging my calm. Maggie’s dog is a saint, but the others….It was a fight to get food in our mouths and the S’mores project was nearly canceled when they got into the graham crackers.
“You’re going to cook all of our marshmallows, right?” one of Maggie’s girl friends asked.
“Um, probably not,” I said back.
“Well, you need to at least make my daughter’s” she snipped.
I proceeded to give a little speech, which probably did not endear me to her, describing how, in the great scheme of the cosmos, I was under about no obligation to cook her any more than I already had. There were stares from her and the other girl friend—whispers, then giggles.
Eventually, Maggie’s little one went to bed, which eased the stress a little (fire+grill+dogs+baby=eek). Boyfriend and sheriff rolled in after dark, and we had ourselves an evening.
The next morning started with Maggie’s little one waking up at his normal time. I rolled out of bed to help with breakfast while the other guests slept. The girl friends’ daughters were up too, hungry, watching TV. Maggie and I cooked some eggs and bacon for the kids and ourselves. Ran out of eggs—oh well, sleep would suffice the others.
Four hours later, the rest of the gang got up, including the women.
Where’s our breakfast? Why aren’t there any eggs? Why won’t someone make me a biscuit? I’m hungry. I need to wash my clothes. I smell like smoke. You guys are going to the lake? What are we supposed to do?
“You can always help clean house,” I said from the kitchen. Again, probably didn’t earn any points.
Sheriff and boyfriend had left before dawn to go to work, leaving other Army friend, Maggie and I to clean up since girl friends were too tired. At least they watched the kids while we scrubbed—or at least sat in the living room and watched TV in proximity of the kids.
The rest of the day was great. Other Army friend, Maggie, the little one and I went to her family’s spot on a nearby lake. I got to take the little guy out swimming, which he loved. Kept waddling back into the water each time I tried to set him out. I let him to his thing until he started shiver and turn blue. Loved that water, though.
Thus endeth my stint at being a quasi-dad for the weekend. Maggie asked if I was interested in her friends. Had to say no thanks, more’s the pity.