The camping story did not have a proper ending because after nightfall I joined the group around the fire and the next day I packed and left. The campfire gathering was fun, but I knew the next day nothing would be as fun. I didn't sleep well because Poe could not get comfortable for a long time. I found out that the new sleeping bag I had bought for this trip was not big enough for both of us. I knew that already about the one I had before. I was very proud of that bag, too. It was a mummy-style bag, lightweight but well insulated, manufactured by a very good company. But too narrow for a man and a dog. The solution of not letting Poe in is out of the question; I wouldn't sleep or be allowed to sleep that way either. So what I'm going to have to do is sew an addition to the bag.
Around the campfire, we roasted marshmallows and chatted. We had no graham crackers to make smores, so some brave souls tried an Oreo substitution. I passed on this; I don't like the original smores anyway. Chuck played his assortment of recorders or whistles. Not bad, but not much of a scholar. I had to sing the words to "The Kerry Dances" before he would believe some guy named John McCormick had a hit with it almost a hundred years ago.
O the days of the Kerry dancing, O the ring of the piper's tune, O for one of those hours of gladness, Gone alas like our youth too soon.
Actually, I didn't remember all the words, but I faked it well enough. I got these with a Google search.
Emma was the one that suggested jokes; that was as far as her inspiration went, since her jokes and funny stories were far too tame to be funny. Some others offered though were very funny, some a little off kilter. I told the only one I ever remember very well, stolen from the late great Gamble Rogers.
A man walks into a bar and yells out, "Who owns that Rottweiler out there?" "I do." a man answers, "What about him?" "He's dead." "Dead?! What happened?" "My dog killed him." "Good god, man, what kind of dog do you have?" "A Chiquaqua." "What? How could your Chiquaqua kill my Rottweiler?" "Stuck in his throat."
OK, Gamble Rogers said it a lot better, but even stripped down, it is the funniest joke I can deliver.
Poe and I took a wrong turn somewhere on the way back. Going in I hadn't noticed any alternate trails, but we managed to stumble on one in our tired state of mind. After trudging a good ways uphill I realised that we shouldn't have left the river that much. We were on one of the horse trails and the river was gone. But it wasn't hard to find the next path that led back down and we were back at the car in an hour. Poe was filthy, so I dragged him to the creek and rinsed him off as much as I could. He was ready to get in the car. And he slept most of the way home.
As tired as we were, the camping bug has bit, and every day since then I've thought how I want to be back there. But other obligations, bad weather, and not getting my tent and sleeping bag fixed are the main deterrents so far. Maybe next Thursday we'll go again.
The main reason I didn't go today after yardsales is that Iris DeMent is in town. In fact, I have been writing this part of the letter at a bar table in the Georgia Theatre waiting for her to come on. I got here a little before 8, when the doors were to open, but the sign said the show wouldn't start till 9, so I went back to my car and sat in it and read.
I never know when to finish these letters. The concert was great. I'm going to another one tonight, Leo Kottke, the greatest guitarist around. I know y'all are partial to Chet Atkins, but he puts Chet to shame as far as I'm concerned. He's even better than Arthur "Guitar Boogie" Smith and Merle Travis, which is high praise indeed.
Hope you are in good health and happy. I'm thinking of coming for a visit at the end of the month. Now that I'm trusting my car on the road, I don't know what carefree trips I may make.