Hey reality, how are you? Fine I see, after smacking me right in the face. It's always tough to come back to the normal life after any kind of vacation. You kind of go through what I like to call "the vacation blahs". No more campfire, no more lake, no more fishies, no more smores, sigh. Is there a cure? I believe I may have found it after my winter vacation...it's called pizza. Actually pizza is a cure for many "blahs", like the "I just got dumped blahs", or "The Toronto Maple Leafs missed the playoffs...again blahs" (which by the way, is single-handedly keeping the pizza delivery industry alive).
I had an incredible vacation that followed an incredible Countryfest (minus heatstroke). So, I feel a "catch-up" is needed. Rather than throw it all into one massive blog, I'm going to break a summary up into two "Ten'tastic Points" from both Countryfest and the family vacation. Since I'm coming off a week of beach and campground awesomeness, we'll stick with that. These highlights are in no particular order...except for number 1.
1)Almost everyone in the world has people they can count on to have a good time. It could be for party purposes, relaxing reasons, getaway companions, or just plain awesome company. I'm blessed to have those people around me all over Manitoba, they're my family. I don't like to get into the argument of who has the better parents, soley because I believe I'm cheating in that competition. My Mom and Dad are the Barry Bonds and Mark McGwire of parenthood (without the big necks). They're like parents on steroids. To give you an example, Mom and Dad prepped their camper for Countryfest, then Dad hauled it up to Dauphin from Killarney after already driving to Rosenort earlier that morning. Then, he left the camper in my incapable crazy hands for a weekend of Countryfest shenanigans. Monday, Mom and Dad returned to the campsite to pick up the trailer so Dad could drive it all the way to Rushing River (southeast of Kenora) while Mom took the bulk of the driving with my car so that I could continue sleeping off the heatstroke (more on that in tomorrow's blog). Parents do a lot for their kids, mine seem to go over the top. I lived in that trailer for a week and a half and enjoyed every single minute of it because my parents made it that way. If I could do a family vacation 10 times a year, I would...I'd also hope they'd pay for every one :)
2)Crawford's Camp, check it out. Fishing, hunting, boating, this is a place you should chalk down for a getaway. The owner, Matt, is a buddy of mine I rarely see anymore. Since we were up at Rushing River, Dad, Tyler (my cousin-in-law) and I drove to Sioux Narrows to go for a fish with Matty. This is the first time I've ever thrown a line in the water on a guided tour...it's also one of the first times I really even caught any fish (and not a tire, which has happened)...I think the two go hand-in-hand. Matty took us to his favorite spots, and considering he's a fishing derby champion, you basically hand your trust right over to him. Have you ever seen the Sesame Street sketch with Bert and Ernie when a whole whack of fish just start jumping in the boat? That's basically what happened. Throw a line in the water, boom, fish. Get Matty to re-bait your rod cause leeches are gross, throw the line back in, boom, fish. Obviously, there were a few quiet times, but when they started getting too long, his girlfriend Violet would step up to the plate and start reloading the live well again. It was a blast to see the "professional" side of fishing and interesting to see how much work Matt puts into his fishing resort. This was the first, but won't be the last, time I go to Crawford's camp. It's worth the drive (oh, and if you don't know Lake of the Woods, get Matt to guide you...it's worth it...if he wasn't there Ty and Dad would have been eating their fish and I would have been having plain batter)
3)SMORES ARE DELICIOUS!
4)I finally beat Grandpa at crib. I've won a few hands here and there, but this time I won the best-of-three. It never happens. I wish I could have framed the deck of cards. Gpa should be crowned the King of Cards. He's also a riot to have around. Rushing River is a park we don't frequent as often anymore, but back in the day it used to be a regular family vacation. Grandpa has always loved the trip there so it was nice to be able to return with him. Of course we all missed Grandma being around, but there were many times I still felt that she was present. We would never had known about the jewel that is Rushing River if it wasn't for them. Hopefully we can continue the family tradition that Grandma and Grandpa created, and hopefully I can keep winning at cards.
5)Kayaking was a riot! We hit Dogtooth Lake for a cruise around the shores. Even though a friend of mine's had issues going straight, there were still no mishaps. However, my cousin and her husband did manage to get stuck along some trees while we went "off-boating". I think I may actually invest in a kayak...after I invest in a vehicle that can actually carry one.
6)My family loves to party. The cousins and their hubbies are a blast. I'm pretty sure I owe each one of them a few drinks...everytime Dad and I would make a beer run that we'd think would last for the day, we somehow ended up running out. I'm still convinced that a couple of the resident squirrels are thieves and are running around hammered.
7)The twins (a pair of cousins) each have a young kid, Brock and Aubrey. This is one of the first times I finally got to hang out and bond with them. I never forget how much joy a child can bring into your life, but sometimes I forget how awesome they make the simple things. Aubrey is a chatter box with a big smile, while Brock just loves to push stuff and go places. They are lucky to have great parents, but I think the 'rents would agree that they are luckier to have these kids. There was not a boring moment around Brock or Aubrey. Thanks for the smiles kids!
8)Roughing it. Now, you may say "hey, Brody, you had a fifth wheeler to stay in, propane barbecues with wicked chefs, a boat, air conditioning, music, bonfires, a store nearby, and more amenities than most campers, there's no way you were roughing it". Well, in a way, you're right. But how about this...I couldn't watch the BOMBERS GAME!! Ahhhhhh. How terrible is that. So, in my eyes, we were roughing it.
9)Golfing White Moose golf course was an experience. The course isn't anything like what I usually hit; par 71/72, straight narrow fairways, lush greens, beer cart, etc. It's a small 9 holer that plays along Lake of the Woods, with a ton of doglegs and questionable yardage...and I loved it. Of course I had a game in which I would rather not discuss the score, but the entertainment is unmatched. I think I lost about 9 golf balls. Dad ended off the round with an eagle while Jason took the lead on the scorecard...Jayme crushed golf balls with tunes cranked from her ipad, while Matt and I enjoyed the beers and our miserable attempt to guess how far away the greens were. I'd do it again in a heartbeat. White Moose is now a favorite.
10)No burns! If you're fair skinned and freckled, you know exactly where I'm coming from on this. A successful vacation involves no sunburn. This rarely happens for me, but I managed to get home without a pain in any part of my body...until I stubbed my toe unpacking.
As far as vacations go, this one was one of the best. Unfortunately my bro and sis weren't able to attend, but hopefully that can change as we continue the Rushing River tradition. I can't praise my family enough for how incredible they are. The trip was short but the memories will last a lifetime. Those memories are the purpose to every holiday; just ask Grandpa, who has decades of them to share with a smile on his face and eager ears to listen.
Now, back to work...hopefully I can remember how to do this whole radio thing