Monday, April 4, 2011

The mud people

Brad and I used to go camping a lot.  We were so young when we got married, that we actually registered for camping equipment on our registry.  We got everything, too. Anyway, when we moved to Texas from Colorado, we were thrilled to discover that there was great camping at Lake Texoma, on the border of Texas and Oklahoma.  There were all these various campsites around the lake and you had to drive like a mile in from the road to get to each.

Finding the right site was half the battle, because you could drive a mile in and then discover a bunch of rednecks squatting around a fire and looking mean, and then you would have to put your tail between your Toyota Camry's legs (which made you look even more like a pus) and drive the mile out of there while they spit and stared with their bloodshot eyes.

So, anyway, one weekend we found this amazing spot.  It was a long, winding and bumpy road that opened up to this huge campsite with its own cove.  We had it for the entire weekend.  It was so fun.  We went skinny dipping in the morning (which is key in Texas because it is so scorchingly hot), fished and hiked during the day, and would make what seemed like the best meals out of whatever we were able to pick up at the store along the way. We would drink wine or beer and go swimming and look at the stars.  It was such a departure from the pomp and circumstance of Dallas, where cellphones, boob jobs and expensive cars are king.  And why is it that shitty, instant coffee is the best thing you have ever tasted when you are camping out?  It is as if all of your senses are heightened or something. 

So Saturday night when we are feeding the campfire, menacing clouds move in.  We don't think much of it, and it is not as if there are signs of other people leaving as you cannot see anyone else around the lake.  We go to bed and it starts to rain.  I take Brad's advice to stay as he is convinced the storm "will blow over" and also that "our tent is waterproof."  This is back when we had only been married a few years and I assumed that Brad, being a male, had all of the knowledge and experience my Dad had.  I now know, after many experiences such as this one, that I should trust my instincts because they are not as lazy as his are.

So it really starts to storm, and the tent is not only leaking (the dog is now in the tent with us with her hot stinky breath), but it is threatening to blow our shelter right off of us.  Finally, we make the decision to sleep the rest of the night in the car (remember the Camry) and when the storm finally passes and the sun comes out, our site and the car are a complete mess.  The soil there is partially clay so it was like quicksand as we are taking down our site, and we are becoming covered in the dark brown-orange clay mud that Lake Texoma is apparently known for.

Our nightmare only intensifies because after we pack the car, we discover the back wheels are stuck and the more Brad spins the wheels, the deeper we are entrenched in the hole we settled on for our parking spot.  The car is in like a natural cul-de-sac, only the circle has trees in the middle and on all sides.  We each take turns trying to rock the car out of the hole while the other guns the engine, and when we do, the tires spit up the clay all over each of us and we are literally covered head to toe in mud.  We looked like cartoon mud people, accompanied by our cartoon mud Lab, Elaine.  The sun is now cooking again and we surrender in all of our mud (which is hardening like dark chocolate) glory to walk the mile to the road to try and wave down some help.

We were mud people standing by the side of the road with our mud dog, trying to wave down anyone while we yelled "Help" over and over.  At first we got strange looks as people slowed down, but then they would just roll up their windows and lock their doors and speed off.  You have to understand that literally every part of our bodies was covered in clay mud, with the exception of our eyeballs.  Much to our astonishment, about fifteen minutes into trying to wave down anyone, a huge honkin' Texan with a truck comes our way - flood lights, gigantic tires, a hitch - the real deal.  It was like any oasis.  In our mind, we are saved.  It is the nicest middle-aged couple who take pity on us.  As they attempt to go a fourth of the way back to our campsite, they almost get stuck, too, and have to turn around.  They apologize and as they do, a police officer stops.  He calls an honest to God tow truck to rescue us and to make a long story short, the tow truck guy takes one look at our situation and tells us to wait until the morning when the mud dries.  It rained that hard and that heavily, that the Texas/Arkansas sun will take all day to bake the mud into dirt.

We are defeated.  We have enough food and beer to last another night.  We have enough bars on our cell phone to hike to the street, again, and call in "sick" to our bosses.

"This sucks!"  Brad yells, as he kicks the Camry's tire for the eightieth time that morning.  I'm gonna give it ONE more try."  I roll my eyes as Elaine, the mud dog, jumps in the back seat as anxious as we are, now, to get the hell out of there.

Brad guns the car, like he has done 100 times with no success.  I am pushing as hard as I can, as more mud covers me from the tire spinning.  All of the sudden, the car miraculously pops out of it's hole and narrowly swerves to miss a cluster of trees as it fishtails around the corner, literally going 40 miles per hour, as he speeds out of sight.  I am covered in mud, jumping up and down, with my fists up in the air like Rocky atop the cement stairs and then I realize I need to start running to meet Brad at the street because he is obviously not stopping until he reaches pavement.

One of the funniest aspects of this story is that we were starving on the way home and needed gas, so we stopped at this little dive outside of the campgrounds , slid in the booth and ordered breakfast as if everything were completely normal.  Some of the locals and campers who passed us in our hour of need, recognized us, and came over to apologize for being less than neighborly.

"I'm sorry," one local explains as she hangs her head, "I thought you was one a' them rednecks that have been infiltratin' our good lake with their drugs and wild ways."

"No, those people  (the "rednecks" that we were judging earlier, by the way) knew better than to drive a sedan back into a campsite around a lake before a torrential downpour."  And that, my good people, is my advice to you, today.

(A) Don't judge a redneck by it's cover and (B)Don't listen to your husband when he says that everything will be fine.  Trust your instincts.  They were planted there by your mother who learned not to believe your father at some point.

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