One of the advantages of moving back home to Bessemer is that I get to go to camp about every weekend. I was able to spend time there occasionally when I live below da bridge, but because it was for just a short weekend, it wasn’t nearly as relaxed as it is now.
Before I go on, I think I need to explain a few things. Here in this part of the world, camp season starts on Labor Day weekend and runs through about the middle of December (after the final weekend of muzzle-loader season). The males in the area become a little migratory each weekend as they hear the call of the wild and are driven to answer it. The migration usually starts on Friday afternoon or sometimes earlier if the Boss (either at work or at home or both) says its ok. Being retired, I only have the main Boss to check with and she always smiles and tells me to have fun. The first stop is usually a local grocery store to grab a few items for sustenance and maybe an adult beverage or 12. Next stop is a gas station to make sure there is enough fuel for your truck, your ORV and/or your generator. Then it’s off to camp.
After the 30 minute or less trip to your spot in the woods, it’s time to get things put away and prepare for the weekend’s activities. When it is bird season, you may take advantage of a sunny day and try your luck at bagging some grouse. Soon your other camp mates arrive and the stories start. Since it is Friday, the first conversation is all about the high school football games that are going to take place that evening and who is going to kick whose butt. Of course, since sports is the topic, an overview of Saturday’s College games is in order as well as a preview of the NFL schedule for Sunday. Supper on Friday is never too elaborate. Burgers, pizzas or chili will suffice. After the meal, a game of cards may be in order or you crank up the generator and turn on the satellite dish so you can catch the latest episode of “Gold Rush” or “Yukon Men” or some other living off the grid he-man show that usually isn’t popular at home. I didn’t say we roughed it at camp. Company is common as there are a lot of camps reasonably close and many of the guys like to come around and say hello. Of course the conversation goes back to high school football and the routine starts over again.
Saturday after a good breakfast of either mini doughnuts or bacon and eggs (depending on who feels like cooking),it’s off to the woods to see about those grouse or to a neighbor’s camp to help work on their road or cut wood. As it gets closer to deer season, there is scouting that needs to be done and a re-hash of the story about the big one that got away several years ago. Saturday night is usually the time for a big meal — pork roast and veggies, steamed salamini sausage with onions and mushrooms, spaghetti and meatballs are all options with an appetizer of venison sausage and cheese. There is usually a good game on the tube and always good conversation around the room. More company is usually the case or we may do the traveling.
Sunday is all about clean-up and heading home. There may be a left over project or two, but there is always next weekend and it makes sense to get back home as soon as you can and make sure the Boss is doing fine. A little home/together time can make it that much easier to start the process over later in the week.
Before I moved back home, I had to add a day on each end of these types of trips because of the long drive, but now I simply start feeling the “Call” about Thursday afternoon and look over at the Boss and she gives me the approval nod for a Friday departure. I am so lucky to have a good Boss.
And that’s the situation as I survey it …
After a 35-year career downstate amongst da trolls, during which he built a successful engineering and surveying business, John Matonich is back home in da U.P. His column will appear here occasionally, don’tcha know. His book “Surveyin’ Da Situation” is available on Amazon.
Image credit: John W. G. Dunn