This trip is beginning to eerily resemble the National Lampoon Vacation movies. The campground we are in was practically deserted all week, until Labor Day weekend came along. Now it is packed to the rafters with everyone from Amish families to loud, hard partying kids, gay couples and families with children on bikes. Who knew northeast Ohio had such diversity to offer?
At one point on Friday evening, I was headed to the bathhouse to visit the toad, when Jeff stopped me to make sure I had the camera with me. He said, “I just saw twenty Amish women head toward the bathhouse, and I just have to know if they wear their bonnets in the shower.” I told him that I was NOT going to take the camera with me for that because a) no, and b) I wouldn’t want them to think I was trying to steal their souls.
The Amish don’t actually believe that, but if you grow up in the Midwest where Amish folks are part of life, as we did, that’s one of the things you hear about them. In fact, the most recent dog picture I posted was taken in an auto parts store where the clerk said, about the dog, “She’s an Amish dog and she thinks you’re stealing her soul.” The thing I actually wondered about the Amish at the campground is whether they see this as a luxury vacation, with the electricity and hot water, whereas we see this as roughing it. Ah, ignorance of another’s culture. Ain’t that America?
Speaking of the campground culture, it is offering one more sign that Jeff and I are irreversibly on the elder side of the generation gap. It used to be, when we were camping, that we would be surrounded by people playing good music. The campground would be filled with the sounds of classic rock stations playing on cheap, tinny radios. Now, the music we hear is rap and all we can think about is “Hey, quiet time is 10PM. Turn that shit off!”
And while we’re on the subject of noise, this sentiment is directed toward the man in the campsite directly behind our tent: “Dude, really? You have to chop firewood at 7AM? Quiet time hasn’t ended yet.” And to the young woman who was up cackling all night: “Don’t eat the yellow acid.”
Maybe they’re all making so much noise in an effort to keep warm. It’s so incredibly cold this weekend that Jeff and I had to go out into the world to find an electric blanket for the tent. After weeks of daytime temps in the 90’s (and, of course, I didn’t pack for cold weather because it’s summer and it was close to 100 in Florida when we left) it has been raining hard and dipping down into the 40’s overnight. Eeek! Check out the sky! Those look like snow clouds, to me.
Try finding an electric blanket at this time of year. I dare you. Especially at Walmart, where they have a very strange idea of “seasonal” stuff. For example, in Florida, you can’t buy lawn chairs except in summertime like the rest of the country, even though all the snowbirds are up north and the residents are inside, hiding from the scorching heat. The Florida season for lawn chairs is winter, but you wouldn’t know it by Walmart’s schedule. So it shouldn’t surprise me that Walmart thinks September is too early for electric blankets, even though it gets really freakin’ cold at night in Ohio.
Anyway, we had to venture back into town (a very long drive, btw) to find what we were looking for, at Sears. The mall we ended up at was only a couple blocks from our recent hotel. We’ve come full circle.
While we were out and about, we finally found the farm we have been looking for all week. Last year when we were up here, we found this place that sells the most incredible fresh produce but we haven’t been able to find it this year because we didn’t pay attention last year to its exact location. For a week we’ve been driving around, looking for a well-tended, red barn that is open on both sides, through which you can see their cornfields. Well, we just happened to find it down a side road that we never thought to try.
We picked up some exquisite corn on the cob, softball-sized succulent tomatoes and some fresh, ready to eat peaches that drip with juice when you bite into them. Jeff, the master camp chef, made an incredible meal of “chip chop ham” (something you can easily find at any grocery store deli in northeast Ohio, but nowhere else) with Manwich Bold sauce on a toasted bun, potato salad, and a plastic cup of “Three Buck Chuck” wine from Trader Joe’s.
Yesterday, we spent another day with the fam, but this time Jeff’s cousin Bobby and his wife Diane were there. These are two wonderful people whose company we really enjoy. Bobby owns a fishing charter company in Eastlake, called Fishfull Thinking, and he was recently host to one of the Deadliest Catch stars, Johnathan Hillstrand on a daylong Walleye fishing trip. It was pretty big news around these parts. Bobby says they had a great time and Johnathan is a really nice guy.
A day with Swineys is always a yuk-fest, especially when Jeff told everyone about the Amish women in the shower and how he had a few questions about what that looked like. Diane said, “Jeff, you have a really strange way of thinking.” But then she thought for a minute and asked, “Do you think they wear their bonnets in the shower?” I guess marrying into this family sort of warps your brain.
Well, I guess that’s enough for now. I have a week’s worth of laundry to do, and maybe I can find an empty shower stall, now that the party seems to be breaking up. It may be a holiday for everyone else, but it’s just another day for me and Jeff, who is oddly beginning to look like Chevy Chase.