It was around eight o’clock on a Saturday morning. I was performing some camp host duties to help out. The folks on site #1 hadn’t gotten checked in the night before, so I was walking over to have them sign their permit.
A slow-moving car approached me from behind. The only other people on the far side of the campground were the young folks who had sites #6 and #7. One of the young women in the group had come over while I was cooking breakfast to ask me now far the campground was from a body of water. Not much later I heard a car leave site #6. I thought they’d taken off for a day on the river, but now I heard a car behind me that could only belong to part of that group. I figured some of the young folks had gotten a late start and were just leaving now.
When the car pulled up next to me, it stopped.
Excuse me, a feminine voice said, and I turned to look.
Two young women were in the car. Both were looking at me expectantly.
Do you know where’s the nearest bar? the driver asked me
I was stunned. I involuntarily glanced at my watch. It was well before 8:30. I try not to judge, but I’m pretty sure anyone inquiring about the location of a bar before noon while on a camping trip has a problem.
The nearest bar? I echoed slowly.
It turned out these gals did have a problem.
Their friends had left with all the food. These young women thought the friends had gone to a bar to watch a soccer game, since that’s what the friends had done the day before. I suppose these young women wanted to track down the friends and get ingredients for breakfast.
I told them about the small community 15 miles away. There’s a restaurant, bar, and general store there, I said, but added it wasn’t much of a soccer kind of place. It’s under new ownership, I remembered aloud. Maybe they’ll have the soccer game on.
I told them about the larger (although by no means large) town 35 miles away. There’s a brewery there, I told them. Maybe the soccer game will be on there. It was only later that I wondered if the brewery would open at eight on a Saturday morning so customers could watch soccer on television. I suspect a brewery doesn’t serve breakfast and would normally open around 11am for lunch.
Where should we go? the driver asked me.
I didn’t know how to help. I certainly didn’t know where their friends had gone. I ended up suggesting they go to the closer place first. At least they could get breakfast there, The Big Boss Man said later when I related to story to him.
I assume the friends found each other. I was at work at the Mercantile all day, then headed down the mountain to get gasoline and propane and a giant ice cream cone. It was dark when I got back to the campground. People were in the tent on site #7, and they didn’t run over to tell me their friends were missing, so I figured everything must have worked out ok.
(The people in the tent didn’t realize their voices carried in the forest. We’re drunk and you’re high! I heard a feminine voice exclaim clearly. Soon another feminine voice was relating the story of the time she got roofied. Oh Lord! I thought. They’re going to be up all night, but thankfully they piped down shortly after 10pm.)
There are lessons to be learned from this tale.
#1 Don’t pack all the food in one vehicle.
#2 If all the food is in one vehicle, don’t drive that vehicle out of the campground while your friends are sleeping.
#3 Communicate with friends before bedtime about who’s leaving the next morning, where they’re going, when they’re leaving, and what time they’ll be back.
#4 For goodness sake, don’t schedule a camping trip for the weekend of the most important soccer tournament of the year.