Monday, July 5, 2010

Reflections on the Fourth, or "Plan Ahead"

Pepper and I had a rather serious case of the indecisives about the Independence Day holiday this year. We couldn't come to a decision about what to do and/or whether to go somewhere to take advantage of the lagniappe time off from work.

And then, there was that other thing.

A couple of years ago -- three now, I believe, because middle grandchild John was still crawling -- The Son and his family came down for a visit and towed back to Arkansas a rather nice pleasure craft that Pepper had been persuaded to purchase for the family. Why, you might ask, was the Pleasure Craft towed back to Arkansas instead of berthing here in sunny New Orleans where Moogie and Pepper could enjoy it on the meandering rivers of southeast Louisiana and open waters of Lake Pontchartrain?

See the foregoing: "persuaded to purchase for the family," with the bulk of said family being located in Arkansas.

Although Moogie is a rather prominent member of "the family," she has been aboard that boat a grand total of -- um, let me calculate it here, um -- once. The day it was purchased. The day before it headed north. Pepper has been aboard a few more times, having been in Arkansas and available for nautical adventures during the intervening summers, but, Moogie? Nope.

So, we thought, maybe we should visit the family for the Fourth and let Moogie get her sea legs and join in the early celebration of Younger Daughter's July 7th birthday.

That's when it got a little complicated.

Younger Daughter, during most of her twenties, has thrown a birthday bash camping trip on Lake Ouachita near Hot Springs with family and friends. Outdoors. In tents. In Arkansas in July.

The last 3 years, the above-referenced Pleasure Craft has transported them to islands where they set up camp, and entertained them during the day with wakeboarding and tubing and other wind-in-your-hair, spray-in-your-face activities. A trip to Ouachita would give Moogie an ideal opportunity to spend time with family and get familiar with the Pleasure Craft! One might be tempted to conclude that this scenario was indeed an ideal opportunity.

Um, nope.

You see, Ouachita is a beautiful, pristine body of water whose quality exceeds that of most cities' treated drinking water, but it is, after all, outdoors. In Arkansas. In July.

I do enough perspiring where I live, and I did a tremendous amount of perspiring during our vacation to LJ's wedding in Ft. Lauderdale a few weeks ago and at the CLE conference in St. Pete back in May, and I can cope with that. But, there's a difference with distinction between those locales and a camping trip to Lake Ouachita in Arkansas in July: in all of those sweaty locations I was able to sleep in air-conditioned comfort, free from perspiration, nocturnal buzzing insects, and (literally) rock-hard sleeping surfaces.

As a younger woman, pre-childbirth, who could wear two-piece swimsuits with flair and aplomb, I actually enjoyed camping. I even backpacked Europe for three months! But as a more "mature" woman, accustomed to many creature comforts, do I put "camping in July" high on my wish list? Nope -- not so much. Pepper, having given nearly 35 years to the Army, a great deal of which was spent in the Infantry, didn't have much argument to my take on the whole camping thing. So, we thought about trying to find nearby accommodations where we could join the kids during the day and retire to A/C to sleep.

We thought about doing this on the Fourth of July weekend the week before. With dogs in tow, because who can get kennel reservations the week before July 4th?

Ha! Just try to find pet-friendly accommodations near a lake the week before the most lake-centric holiday of the year, even if your husband's high school chum runs a nearby resort. Bill offered to rent us the floor in his bedroom!

So . . . this recounting has been a rather convoluted explanation of how Pepper and Moogie came to be on a friend's balcony on July 4, 2010, watching fireworks over the Mississippi River in New Orleans with a freshly baked apple pie. You can't eat store-bought apple pie while watching fireworks on the Fourth of July.

And Moogie has still been aboard the Pleasure Craft a grand total of -- once.


  1. I only wish we had 'rents as kind and generous as y'all. My father owned a number of Pleasure Crafts over the years, all of which were moored within a hop, skip, and a jump of his residence. We chilluns were welcome to come visit at any ol' time and be entertained out on the Pacific or on Lake Isabella in his later years. But would he let US take his Pleasure Craft home with us? He would NOT. Given the nature of our occupation said visits were pretty rare, especially since we were often on different continents. (sigh)

    Still and even, eating homemade apple pie on a balcony while watching fireworks over the Mrs. Hippy sounds pretty good to me. We watched some sort of neighborhood consortium fire off a seemingly endless supply of fireworks from the comfort of SN1's verandah last evening... while enjoying a likewise seemingly inexhaustible supply of G&T's. We also slept in air conditioned splendor last evening, on a firm mattress. Life is good!

  2. Moogie, I'm with ya'! In our younger days, we camped all over Arkansas, LA, Texas...and during the Summer, too!

    Heck, once we hit about 40 it was like, "forget that!" Nature is best enjoyed after a good night's sleep on a firm mattress in an air conditioned hotel. Preferably one with a nice jacuzzi, large indoor swimming pool, and a decent restaurant.

    On the rare occasions that we do go "camping" now, that's how we do it!

  3. Buck -- yep. We're generous to a fault. (We're also still planning to build near Ouaachita when the economy settles down and Pepper can retire from his civvy job. So, there is a little method to the madness!)

    Andy -- I do believe you have that camping formula down to a science. Room service doesn't hurt, either!

  4. America, Mom, and apple pie. I love it!!!

  5. Well, of course, Anon! All that's missing is Diana Shore in a Chevrolet.

    Welcome to Moogie's world!