Monday, July 2, 2012

The Hillbilly and the Island of Doom!

 Welcome to Monday! Later this week, I'll be talking about the difference between "into" and "in to." In the meantime, enjoy this disgusting little story from The Hillbilly.

In my last post, I began talking about our family's vacations.  It seems like all our early vacations were kind of mini-vacations of 1 to 3 days.  It was a good thing because I don’t think I could have taken long ones!  

For instance, my parents would just come into my bedroom and wake me up at 2:00 AM and say, "Get ready; we're leaving!"  My sisters and I would ask, "Where are we going?"  They would not respond.  They would just load us up and take off!  

All day we would continue to ask questions such as where are we going or when are we going to get there?  They wouldn’t tell us because they were just going on a "drive-about."  We might wind up at a park like Big Spring where we would spend some time and then take off again and go somewhere else.  This would go on all day and until late at night when we would wind up at home.  

Big Spring State Park, MO.

It was interesting and exhausting for us as children.  Our parents thought it was hilarious to keep us confused and off balance. 
The vacation I want to revisit today was close to the time my Mom had proclaimed me to be a swimmer.  It was on a small lake called Lake Niangua.  Most of us refer to it as Tunnel Dam.  It is a small lake just above Lake of the Ozarks on the Niangua River.  The reason many of us refer to it as Tunnel dam is because the dam blocks off the water from its normal path and directs the water through a tunnel to a power house that is on the opposite side of the hill.  

Lake Niangua

At any rate, we stayed at a camp that had cabins.  I don’t know what it was called then but I think it is now called Jim’s Niangua Camp.   At that time, it had several cabins, a small snack booth and a boat dock.  Rental boats and motors were available for guests and for those who just came down for fishing.  Unless you fished or swam, there wasn’t much to do.  

This was my uncle and dad’s vacation.The first day my uncle and dad took off and fished.  We kids basically roamed around the camp.  During this roaming, we stopped at the snack booth and got candy bars.  

We were having candy, everything was great until my cousin took a few bites out of hers and looked down and found maggots crawling on it.  For some reason, this seemed to ruin the appetite of both my cousin and my sisters.  There was a lot of groaning and such.  Personally, I found it to be quite funny.  Hey, I was a boy!  Okay, I still think it was funny!  

At any rate, that was day one!  That night was a little more interesting, in that we met and visited with a young couple.  We found out that she was half Cherokee Indian.  As far as I know, she was the first person I knew that was Indian.  I was impressed!  Also, she was tall, slender, and pretty.  That was doubly impressive.  Hey, as I mentioned in an earlier post, I am a guy, and apparently I have always been a guy!
Day two began a little better.  My uncle and dad came in and then took me fishing with them.  I don’t remember us catching much but I got to be out with my dad and my favorite uncle.  

Things started so well!  But then there was "The Island."  Early in the afternoon, probably at my mother and aunt’s request, my uncle and dad loaded all of us kids into a small boat.  It is a wonder we didn’t sink!  They then took us to a small island so we could swim.  Yeah!  Things are looking up!  

Then they left and went fishing -- for hours!  The island was tiny!  The island had no trees for shade.  There was nothing to do but get into the water or bake! There was only water in all directions except for up! Up had only sunshine.  There were no clouds, no parasol, no sunscreen, and no hula girls waving palm leaves over us to cool and protect us.  It just wasn’t that kind of island!  

Most of the time, I stayed in the water to keep cool.  We all burned to a crisp!  That night would have been miserable for anyone in that condition.  But for a six or seven year old boy who had never had a sunburn before, it was pure misery.  The tough little hillbilly boy didn’t feel very tough! 

Sunburn flickr 01
Not actually The Hillbilly, but a reasonable facsimile
 Day three:  More pain and misery!  We went home!
I would like to think that our moms chewed out our dads.  But I never heard any of it if they did.  Maybe it was considered a rite of passage from youth to becoming a grownup.  

Pain!  I peeled twice, and we didn’t have Solarcaine or any other such pain killing sissified stuff. You just had to be tough to survive our vacations!  So where are we going next, Dad? 
From the Hillbilly’s corner  

So which part of the story did you find the  most emotionally distressing, the maggoty candy bar or the nineteen-fifties style child endangerment? It's a toss-up for me.