Monday, July 25, 2011


I start the car and slide the stick into reverse. I slowly back the car out of the spot and curve right. The car on our left does the exact same maneuver. Now the car sits inches in front of our front bumper and in unison we both place the car in drive and snake our way around the field full of cars, past the climbing wall and out onto the dirt path. The dirt path leads us to the blacktop of Route 137, we turn left and take off, leaving the camp behind and out into the world. 

"One story the counselors told us was about the Crazy Mainer..." Starts my son, sitting in the passenger seat as we wait for the light to turn green. "Who is the Crazy Mainer?" I ask. "So, along time ago, there was this kid who lost his hand in an accident. He lived near the camp but was not allowed to go because he only had one hand. He was very angry with the camp and all the fun the kids were having. When he grew up he never forgot about it and now roamed the camp at night. He would sneak into the bunks and walk around and look at each camper and if any kid has an arm or a leg sticking out, he would cut it off..." My son giggles. "Wow that is some story, were you scared?" I respond. "No, I knew it was fake." I turn left and continue to follow the car in front to our first destination, Fonzos Pizza and Seafood.

"What can I get you folks?" says the lady leaning against the counter like its the only thing keeping her from hitting the floor. About twenty minutes later the six lobster rolls, basket of fried clams, a hamburger and a Steak Bomb arrive at our table. "Does anyone want a bite of the Steak Bomb?" I manage to articulate chewing the Maine version of a cheese steak sandwich. My son finishes his hamburger and rests his head on his arm. The excitement of the morning meet-up has leveled off but stepping away from the activities of camp and being with his parents has made him a bit home sick. After our lunch we snap a few pictures of the front for proof of our visit and head to get supplies at the main destination in town, Walmart.

As we pass through the double doors of Walmart, we all take a deep breath before stepping into the belly of the beast. "I have never been inside a Walmart before..." My son exclaims, eyes widen in a hypnotic state, no doubt caused by the Walmart magnetic vortex of shiny cheap goods. "We are only here to get the things you need for camp, then we are getting out quickly, in and out..." I command as I grab a cart and descend into the aisles. We are working our way around, towels-check, tape-check, pushpins-check, "Do you know where the..." someone asks but we keep walking, do not want to be lured in. As we scurry up and down aisles, we can't help but notice other families, also in a scurry, getting similar items; batteries, sheets, towels, flashlights, each one in possession of a boy with an identical maroon t-shirt. I stop at the center aisle and look in all four directions and as far as I could see the entire store is filled with campers. As we reach the far end of the store we find the last item, fan-check. Now is the most difficult challenge, getting to the front of the store without adding anything more items to the cart. I think either the carts are programmed for the wheels to tighten and slow or the store is built on a slope because working your way to the front is like climbing a steep hill. "Oh look, we can use that.." "That is cool, can I get that." I pretend not to hear anything but it seems like the aisles are whispering to you. "Psst, hey you, don't you need a new toaster?" Psst, come down here, I'm having a sale on socks." Psst, you know you never want to be caught in the rain with old wipers, what are you driving..." I block out all sound and finally reach the registers. We place the items on a register and wait for the person in front of us to finish her transaction. All of a sudden, the customer leaves the checkout without her stuff and heads towards the exit. "Whats the matter?" I ask. "Oh she was paying with a check but left her wallet in the car, it will only take a few minutes. I look at my wife and she looks back, then we quickly place all the items back in the cart and scramble over to the open self serve register. We speed through our purchases, swipe the credit card, bag the items and quickly make our way back to the entrance to meet the rest of the family. As we wait for them to survive the ascent upward towards the registers, we are greeted by all the other families finished with their Walmart excursion. The kids are comparing supplies, as this will be their only chance to replenish so due diligence is paramount. "Oh I can use a mattress pad too, the bed is a little bumpy..." My son requests as he spots one in another cart. "We better get it now.." My wife responds as she looks in my direction. "Ok..., wait here." I reply. As I turn I take another deep breath, and start my trek back through mountains of sale displays, tree size floor stands and family friendly cardboard signage, to locate the bedding section. As I grab the twin size foam pad, a faint breeze touches the back of my neck, "Psst, I think you need a new pillow to go with that pad..." I keep my eyes forward and my legs moving fast... 

Look for part 3: Turbulence during Re-entry


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