I have returned. What? You didn’t realize I was gone?
Well, I was. Since it was 4 July, I made the traditional pilgrimage to the hinterlands of Wisconsin.
Yes, everything you’ve heard about the great Northwoods is true. It is the land of deer, ticks and beer swilling cheese heads. Funny, I can’t believe the local tourism board rejected that as a slogan.
Although I can’t give you the specific coordinates, I pretty much got in the car and drove until I ran out of highway. Suffice to say, it is the part of Wisconsin where a 4-wheeler is the carpool vehicle of choice. It's where running a meth lab qualifies as a home-based business.
I tease you, of course. I kid the industry “up there,” as people “down here, “as people down here call it, but it is tourism. Yes, in urban Wisconsin, the hinterland is, “up there”; I think “out there” is more accurate.
You can’t swing a Northern, which is type of Wisconsin fish, much coveted, without hitting a cutesy gift shop or bar. While up there, I stayed in a tent. Why? Because tradition says, I must. Actually, the tent wasn’t so bad. The homicidal air mattress almost did me in.
No, I didn’t spend too much time in the sun. Okay, at this moment, I am a lovely shade of pink. What do you expect from someone who spends a majority of their time basking in the glowing rays of the laptop monitor? Really, the air mattress was out to get me. How else do you explain why it attempted to engulf me each night?
Every evening I started out on top of the air mattress, which is normal, I guess, when you’re “out there.” Over the course of the night I slowly sunk into the mattress, which is not normal, anywhere. By morning, I found myself flat on the floor.
To make matters worse, I was wedged between two great slabs of air mattress. My attempts to extricate myself from the clutches of the air mattress provided great entertainment to everyone, but me. After this past weekend’s sojourn, I’ve decided that the local residents appear to harbor an unhealthy obsession with things that go boom, specifically, fireworks.
Don’t get me wrong I love the occasional professional fireworks show. I also understand how they represent 4 July but, and this is a huge but, Bill and Ed, not their real names or who knows maybe those are their real name, sitting around a campfire setting off loud firework after firework represent neither professionals nor something to celebrate.
Unless the clowns I am referring to were celebrating their state of inebriation? Yes, that is most likely it. Take into consideration the impromptu fireworks display started at 1:30 am, not a typical time for a fireworks show, and you can see why I was rather miffed.
I am not sure what was worse the actual booming firework or the drunken “whoo-hoo” that followed each one. At one point, I prayed the air mattress would just suffocate me and put me out of my misery. If you think I am a complete stick in the mud, I would like to point out that this particular firework fiesta was not even on the actual holiday.
I left before the holiday proper, but I can only imagine the orgy of pyrotechnics they did that night. There is one bright side to this; usually I am afraid I will become some bear’s snack.
Each year I imagine some large grizzly moseying into the campsite, seeing my tent and thinking “Jackpot,” but given the loudness of the fireworks I figure the bear was sleeping somewhere with earplugs in his fuzzy little ears; he probably has an air mattress that actually holds air.
In that regard, I owe Bill and Ed a big, “Thank You.”
Jennifer Flaten lives where the local delicacy is fried cheese, Wisconsin. She writes about family life, its amusing or not so amusing moments. "At least it's not another article on global warming," she says. Jennifer bakes a mean banana bread and admits an unusual attraction to balloon animals and cup cakes. Busy preparing for the zombie apocalypse, she stills finds time to write "As I See It," her witty, too often true column. "My urge to write," says Jennifer, "is driven by my love of cupcakes, with sprinkles on top. Who wouldn't write for cupcakes, with sprinkles," she wonders.
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