Until next time America.
Bloody Mary’s kicked off the day again on day three of the 10,000 Lakes Festival. I groggily stumbled out of my tent and quickly took a shower. Tom, Bern, Joey and I pulled out the cards and killed some time before the music that we wanted to check out started.
The night before we arrived at the festival we prepared ourselves by going to a WalMart to buy all the food and previsions we thought we might need. As we wandered around the long white isles dripping with low, low prices we picked out hotdogs, bread, lunch meat and snacks. We decided we were going to make ourselves one big amazing dinner to celebrate the midway point of our trip and our first festival. We took our cues from the Crab Shack in South Carolina where we had been several months ago and bought shrimp, sausage, corn on the cob, baby potatoes and mushrooms to put in a large roasting pan and steam over the fire. As we sat around playing cards, Joey and I decided to tackle the meal and began preparations.
I love to cook. It has been a favorite hobby of mine for a long time and I like to think I’m pretty good at what I make. This trip is posing new challenges for my culinary prowess however as there has only been one meal that I can think of off the top of my head that was cooked over a stove top. All the rest have been cooked over a fire. In preparation for this eventuality I armed myself before the trip started with several jars of my favorite seasonings - nobody wants bland food- especially if it’s slightly charred.
Joey and I assembled the fantastic meal and I sprinkled garlic and onion power along with salt, pepper, rosemary and parsley over the feast. We had started a small fire and as we were finishing our preparations, the wood had burnt down to coals and was ready for cooking over. I sat outside stirring at the contents of the roasting pan and squeezing lemon over the food for added zest. Finally the potatoes were soft enough for a fork to pierce them, the sausage was juicy and plump, the shrimp was curled into the most succulent little pink morsels and the corn on the cob’s kernels were bursting with flavor. Very proud of the meal, I carefully pulled the hot tin pan off the fire and carried it into the tent to be immediately devoured by all.
Bellies full of hot scrumptious food, our eyelids began to grow heavy. Tom and Bern opted for an early afternoon nap so they could be fresh for the music later that day, but Joey and I thought a little moving around might be all we needed to stay energized. We left the sleeping beauties and headed down the dirt path between many campers tents towards the main stage. As we passed by the food venders and headed over a grassy hill towards the music Joey noticed a girl about my age sitting on the ground offering free face painting. Acting quickly, Joey convinced me to get my face painted as he edged me over to the woman and I sat down to her huge smile.
I didn’t know what I wanted so she suggested a butterfly. I was OK with that so she asked what my favorite colors were and I told her orange and yellow. She asked if I wanted my whole face painted and I heard Joey saying yes at the same time I said no. She laughed and said she would show me half before doing the other half. I closed my eyelid and a cold, wet sponge padded gently around my eye. After a little bit she said I could look and I opened my eyes to a mirror reflecting a giant yellow butterfly wing over half my face. Feeling slightly ridiculous I knew this much butterfly over my face would be a hit for the other festival goers so I thanked her and Joey and I headed down to the main stage. We lounged together soaking in the sun and the sound for a long time. There was a break between sets and an older man came on stage to let everyone know that they could do whatever they wanted but it might be a little dull around the stages until later on. Lazily we decided to head back to see if we could rouse our companions.
Tom and Bern were up and hanging around the camp site and after they saw how much fun we had been having without them they eagerly wandered back out with us to the stages. The four of us spread out a tapestry to sit on and relaxed in the slowly fading day. The music pulsed around us and every face that passed by had a smile across its lips. I kept running over to the same stand to get beer because I was getting such a kick out of the whole experience. I was the only customer at the stand the majority of the time that I went up but they still clanged a large bell when I tipped and made a big commotion. Someone yelled, “I like your butterfly!” and I was all smiles.
Dusk rolled in over our heads but the bands played on, and we caught Widespread Panic, which we’d been unable to do during their show on the first day. Joey and I were walking up towards the vender area when he spotted a glow stick stand. We got a tube of 100 glow sticks and brought an amazing night surprise to our companions. As the music came to an end we slowly made our way back to our tents and decorated the plastic rafters with neon glowing light. We sat for awhile admiring our art then crawled into our tents for a long sleep in the cool Minnesota darkness.
Until next time America.