At the cabin. Don’t worry, the grass at home is still as long as ever.
My brother Larry and I went up last weekend and spent the night. It was good, but it was weird not having Paul there. He is ingrained into every part of that cabin, from the furniture, to the homemade mousetraps, so it was kind of like he was there, but not the same.
It was his favourite place, that I know of.
I guess I was around twelve when we took possession of the property. It was amazing. We showed up there and it was freezing cold. We had eight people crammed into a 1981 Bronco, and everyone waited in the truck while we went in and got a fire going in the old cookstove. I don’t know if our excitement could have been contained, because we were finally at our own camp. Up until that time, we had relied on the kindness of friends like Glenn for our camp visits. Not that there was anything wrong with that. He had an awesome camp on a small lake, and it is the setting for a lot of my growing up, but Paul now had six kids, and you can’t just drag them around to other people’s places all willy-nilly.
Larry and I talked about when we used to go up there with Paul on whatever weekends we could. There was always some work to do or some animal to hunt, but more importantly there was booze to drink.
That was the place that our educations started with the manly side of drinking.
You know, where you don’t eat until 9:00 PM because you don’t want to
waste your buzzgo to bed yet. You see, I was always eating when I was hungry before that time. Little did I know that all of the alcohol I had consumed would be wasted on sleeping, if I in fact ate anything.
We also learned that if you’ve paid for a drink, and someone wants to fight you outside, you calmly tell them that you’ll be out as soon as you’ve finished your drink. When you’re a working man, you come to know the dollar value of a pub whiskey is greater than the feeling of satisfaction you get from humiliating a complete dick. (if you’re lucky)
We learned that you should never place blame for a missing six pack, and raccoons don’t always just steal your food. One morning when we woke up, there was six missing from the cooler. Paul blamed me, Larry blamed Paul, and I blamed Larry. We were pissed off that someone would wake up and guzzle down six of our last fourteen beer. Later on, as we walked to get some water, we found the six pack on the trail. It was intact, except for one can that had a set of teeth marks in it and a wet spot on the ground. Dirty little alcoholics.
We learned that your uncle doesn’t always have your best interests at heart, and that just because you’re drunk and having fun at the table, it doesn’t mean that you won’t be flying through the air and landing on the wooden arm of a chair, with only the cartilage in your ear to soften the blow.
It’s also where I learned, last weekend, that becoming a father can actually settle a guy down.
Larry and I have been through a lot in our lives, and this is the first time that I can honestly say that I’m proud of him. Don’t get me wrong. I’m not saying he was always horrible, or never did the right thing, that’s far from true. Anyone that knows me, will know that I expect the best in people, so being a person of mediocre values is never going to impress me. What I’m saying is that he has grown up to be like his Dad in so many ways, and I feel a real sense of pride when I look at him know.
There is no more (visible) chip on his shoulder. He has married a wonderful girl, who has put a real shine in his eye, and has a beautiful, new baby boy to bring up. He didn’t once say that we should get hammered on Wiser’s and head to town to kick the piss out of some asshole. He also didn’t blame the world for any of his problems. No, he just wanted to have a few beers, cut the grass, and play a game of crib while we talked about the good old days, his new son, and how we miss Paul.
Especially when we’re up here.
We would probably even let him call us a pair of idiots again, if it meant that he could look out over his freshly cut lawn, and talk about what kind of fish we were going to stock the pond with.
I feel so unbelievably lucky to have this simple life of mine, where I can just enjoy the beautiful things in the world with the finest people. If there is a karma out there, I thank you.
You get a line and I’ll get a pole, and we’ll go down to that crawdad hole, honey, baby mine,
***This post was written for Dude Write. It’s a competition to showcase male bloggers, because all the chicks get all the blogging glory. Well, that ends now. For me anyhow. Go to Dude Write, right now and read every blog there. You can then vote for your favourite on I believe Sunday night or something. Anyhow, the voting isn’t important, but the reading is. It’s also nice to drop a comment if you liked a certain post. It makes the author’s toes curl.***.