July 25th, 2004

happy

There & Back Again...

I know for certain I am not adopted because I take after my father and grandfather. I hear the word "Go," and I am out the door. So, it was more than a little frustrating when, after being told to be at my friend's house at 2:30, I had to wait another hour and a half to finally leave.
It has been a long time since I have been to Kamas. We used to go every summer for girls camp. I have many fond memories of that place. Singing..."Hey all, staff's coming'!" and Sandra Rigby running out of the latrine with a gas mask on her face and her pants around her ankles. Ah. Good times.
This was not girls camp...this turned out to be not even camping. I knew my friend had a cabin, but as I we pulled up I couldn't help but mentally scoff a bit. I'm sorry...and true, I haven't been to many cabins... (only Alex's and my sister's in laws spring to mind,) but I just don't think CABINS should have manicured LAWNS.
Still, it was nice to get away up in the mountains. Maybe because it was July and so it wasn't really that cool, but there wasn't any of the SMELL I was looking forward to. That crisp, impossibly sweet mountain air? Nada.
The neighbors opposite them had their cabin for sale and I guess arrangements had been made that we could use theirs since they weren't going to be using it that weekend. So, no tent. I was a bit bummed about it, though I guess if I had really wanted to, I could've set it up.

It is always interesting hanging out with a family not your own. It's always fascinated me seeing how other families work and operate. This one was bizarre though. I mean, they were all really nice people but very different than mine. I couldn't keep everybody straight to save my life. There's this person, who used to be married to that person...he's up here too with his 3rd wife, and so and so who is the brother of her husband who died...and this person who is the boyfriend of this person and his kids and a few of their friends who used to date but aren't any more...
I quickly gave up trying to keep everybody straight and just introduced myself as Jen's friend. And politely refused drink after drink. Actually they zeroed on pretty quick that I was Mormon.

Side note:
I find it fascinating...I mean, really and truly fascinating. When a religious person hangs around a group that is decidedly NOT...all the wisecracks that get made at the religious person's expense. And some of it is gentle ribbing...some of it is outright derision. The cut to the chase subtext seems to be "You think you're better than us!" and "You are a MORON for believing this stuff."
And if you push back a little bit, there is great offense taken. "We're just teasing!" and "You're supposed to be religious! You're not supposed to JUDGE!"
So...the double standard really is quite striking...and almost funny. I swear, it's almost feels like they mock you with a little personal guilt. Like tearing you down will make them feel better. But what do I know...a silly little Jesus freak. ;)
End side note.


Friday night we went to Bull Wars. Holy cow. In my life I have never been to a rodeo and let me just say, `Yee haw!' I can't believe that's actually a SPORT. It was incredible watching these guys try and hang on to a rope tied to an angry BULL for EIGHT SECONDS.
The announcer was a HOOT. He just kept this running jibbering commentary going without nary a pause to catch his breath. It was interesting listening to his patter, seeing where he would put his filler lines. I wish I had a dollar for every time he said "Guys an' Gals!"
More fun that watching the bull riding though was the interim entertainment between the bull riding heats. I watched a wild cow milking contest...and while I don't think you could really say one hasn't lived until they've seen said contest, I consider my life a little richer for seeing something so crazy.
A fellow on a horse and a parner running try to run and rope a cow. Once the cow is roped, the runner has to jump and hold down the cow, TAKE OFF THE ROPE while the fellow on the horse leaps off and tries to get a few squeezes of milk into a cup.
Crazy go nuts funny.
Better than that though was ... heck, I don't know WHAT to call it. One of the more bizarre `father/son activities' I've ever seen. One person is on a horse and he is at one end of the arena. He races down to the other end dragging a large flap of leather on a rope.
At the other end of the arena is his partner who reaches out, grabs the rope around the turn, throws himself on the flap of leather and gets dragged at a full gallop back to the other end. Most of the time they missed the leather and just clung to dear life to the rope while getting face fulls of dirt.
They had one little boy come out who can't have been older than NINE.
I gaped at THAT one wondering "Where is this kids MOTHER?!" Looking around me though, I saw a lot of big hair and more than one pink crocheted cowboy hats. (Kid you not. Neon pink. Wow.)
It was tremendous fun...but not NEARLY as rednecky as the next evening's events.

The Demolition Derby.

You know it's going to be a fun night when the announcer says, "Hey folks! We've got the fire department as well as several EMTs standing by, so we're in for a fun night!"

Kamas takes their demolition derby seriously. The tickets sold out almost 3 months in advance. The rules are simple...you can't hit the drivers side of the car and the last car running wins.
These guys work for a year getting their car ready. They take out all of the glass, lights etc and I believe the rules make them remove the gas tank as well so nothing explodes. The gas comes from a 5 gallon tank they put in the back seat.
Done in heats, 8 cars start and the last 2 running qualify for the finals where they all again, beat the crap out of each other's cars for a purse of $3000.00.
They race around, smash into each other with shocking speed, push each other into the huge mounds of dirt that surround the arena and we, the crowd, cheer like bloodthirsty Romans at particularly nasty hits or when engines catch on fire. (Which they do.)
When the heat is over and the trucks come in to drag out the corpses of dead cars they send scantily clad girls in cowboy hats to fling packages of skittles at the clamoring crowd. I wished it had been cheese sticks. It would have felt a little more authentic.
It's really incredible though...getting so caught up in it, screaming at cars to take particularly nasty hits on each other and getting all excited when things blow up.
I can understand a little bit now how gladiator crowds must have been.

Still though, it was a lot of fun though, admittedly yee haw country. They asked me if I had a good time. I responded that I did but then quipped, "Now I feel like I have to listen to NPR for a MONTH!"


I love the stars up in the mountains. I love looking up and seeing the Milky Way splashed across the sky. It always gives me goosebumps to realize I am looking at the rim of the galaxy. How cool is that? How cool is it to be able to look up and the sky is so clear you can instantly spot satellites cutting silently through the heavens? I remember the line from Contact. If we ARE alone, it would be an awfully big waste of space.
Which is a terrific line.

Almost as good as, "I'm okay to go! I'm okay to go!"

(and then I start giggling thinking how Jodie Foster was considered for Carrie Fisher's role of Princess Leah in the Star Wars movie and snicker thinking how those lines would have sounded with Jody's voice. "Darth Vadar's yer FATHER?!" Hahhah!)

I've also never seen a fireworks display from the actual place they are shooting said fireworks. One advantage of growing up in the foothills is a pretty good view of fireworks from a distance. It's something else entirely to have to crane your neck UP to see them and have the audio/visual link in near synchronicity. Ouch. Flash! BOOM!!! OOOOHHHH!!!! (cued up with cheezy rave type patriotic music. I didn't KNOW you could rave out `Dixie' and then merge into `Rhapsody in Blue', but apparently you CAN.)

So, I had a great time. I'm glad that family isn't mine, even though they were all very nice. I prefer to smell like camp, not cigarette smoke when I come home...and it's rather bizarre being the only sober person in a rather large group. Funny...but also a bit disconcerting. I have to say, it's an experience I've never really HAD before...to truly be the only person who wasn't drinking. Wow. Chalk up another Sunday School experience I've finally had.

And no, I don't want any Yeagar even though it supposedly tastes like black licorice, thank you very much.

It was nice to get away, it was nice to meet new people, it was nice to get a wealth of new cartoon ideas, it was fun to see bucking bulls, crashing cars and loud fireworks and eat s'mores. Now it is nice to be at my folks, listening to them discuss their trip to Colorado, hear about all my relations and smell the roast beef cooking and knowing shortly dinner will be served out on the deck.

I love the 24th of July. And rather than try to explain what that is to those not in the know, just read my older brother's post. It brought a tear to my Good Mormon Girl eye and I think it is exceedingly well written. Thanks Mark.
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