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John DeDakis

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Raquette Lake!
By John DeDakis   

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Two women. Two campsites. Two perspectives.


I'm dead tired.  Ruthie and Matthew was both up all night wailing.  I think Matthew's got an ear infection.  Ruthie's got her usual summer cold.  I tried to tell Sam that we shouldn't go camping this weekend, but there's no getting through to him when he wants to do something.  So, here we are -- camping at Raquette Lake. 

 Sam's already got a buddy to play with -- some guy from Buffalo he met when we got here last night.  The two of them's down by the boat launch, drooling over Buffalo's in-board/out-board contraption.  I can see them from here.  Sam's barefoot in his yellow sleeveless muscle shirt and cutoffs.  Buffalo's swilling a Coors.  That man has the fullest, grayest beard since Santa Claus.

I'm so lonely it hurts.  A few folks have passed by.  One girl seems like she might be kinda nice.  She's about 25.  Very stylish.  Her bouncy brown hair always falls neatly into place when she tosses her head.  She has a perky spring in her step.  This morning she came past here with her husband on the way to the beach.  She said "hi," but didn't stop to talk (and I was shy about knowing what to say).  Besides, they was holding hands and had their heads close together as they talked.  I heard her say something to him about Raquette Lake and then they both laughed. 



Raquette Lake.  Last night James and I had a good laugh over that name.  The hilarity began after we went to bed.  A couple of little kids in Campsite 36 were crying and wouldn't stop.  At first, it was funny.  

"They don't call it Racket Lake for nothing," James whispered, as he nuzzled my ear. 


I gave him a playful sock on the shoulder and one-upped him with my own rejoinder: "stop making that racket!"  

We snorted and wheezed hysterically while snuggling in our zipped-together sleeping bags.  By three in the morning, however, long after James had fallen asleep, the joke was as thin as my nerves. 

I chose not to awaken James to have him trudge over to restore order.  He had worked a full day and then drove all the way here from Albany.  I would have gotten up myself and gone to the front gate to complain, but the night air was chilly.  I didn't want to put on my tennis shoes and lace them up (plus, my hair was a mess!) so I suffered in silence and slept fitfully.

James and I took a romantic early morning walk on Golden Beach.  We walked hand-in-hand, marveling at the fog as it appeared to smolder on the mirror-smooth water.  I love the fresh smell of the pines and sweet aromas of campfires.  

We passed Campsite 36 on the way to the beach.  The kids who had been making the racket couldn't be more than four years old.  One sat in a rickety stroller.  It's hard to tell, but I think one kid's a boy and the other's a girl.  They both need haircuts and dress androgynously.  The mother looks like she's barely eighteen.  Mousy hair.  Vacant expression.  She was probably pretty once -- before she started having babies and losing sleep.  Pathetic.



About an hour ago, Sam brings Buffalo back to the campsite and gets all upset with me because lunch isn't ready (as if I'm supposed to read his mind).  Quickly, I throw together a couple of baloney sandwiches and potato chips.  (They open their own beers.)  All the while, Ruthie and Matthew are wailing for their Momma -- and food.

Buffalo seems to be a nice, quiet sort.  Sam does all the talking -- bragging, mostly. (It's all baloney, just like his sandwich.  Ha!)

Sam and Buffalo only stick around long enough to eat.  They take a couple more beers with them and head back to Buffalo's boat.  "I'll be back later," Sam calls over his shoulder.  I know better than to ask where he's going or when he'll be back.  Once when I asked, I got smacked.  Last I saw, him and Buffalo was zooming away from the boat launch, churning up Raquette Lake like nobody's business.



The weather is glorious.  Barely a cloud in the sky, temperature about eighty degrees, no humidity.  James and I are at the beach lying on two huge towels.  The beach is a modest stretch of sand containing several smooth log benches.  The water feels nippy at first, but quickly turns mild and refreshing.  It's shallow for a long way out and only gradually gets deeper.  Even fifty yards away from shore, the water just comes up to my neck.  The sand of the gently sloping lake bottom is firm, soothing -- not mucky or rocky.

Mrs. Racket and her two wailing chilluns made their arrival on the beach a little while ago as James and I were wading in from the deep end.  The poor girl has no swimsuit -- just ratty cutoffs and a T-shirt advertising a motorcycle! 

The Rackets really succeeded in grossing us out.  The two little kids (no swimsuits, either), were wading in the water.  The mother made a feeble attempt to keep them from getting their clothes wet, but it seems she's powerless against two tiny tots.  Anyway, while they were wading out toward us, one of the little darlings (a boy, I can now confirm), pulled down his pants and pooped in the lake right in front of me.  There was a little turd on the water in more ways than one.  Disgusting!  This weekend is going down the tubes fast.



I'm so embarrassed I could cry.  I took Matthew and Ruthie to the beach.  I'd forgotten to pack their swimsuits, so we just waded.  Matthew decided to dump a load in the water -- pulled his pants down and proudly did his thing -- right in front of that nice girl and her husband.  She was polite and pretended not to notice.  I just hope she wasn't offended.  I really could use a friend, but I'm afraid she's too distracted by her man to pay any attention to me.



I have been trying to get to sleep since ten o'clock, but the Raquette Lake racket has begun again.  Those two brats just won't shut up!  This time I'm going to do something about it!



Sam and Buffalo have been gone since lunch.  The kids are crying again.  I can't take this much longer.



Looks like I'm getting some satisfaction.  I got so fed up with the cacophonous Campsite 36 that I laced up my tennies and trundled to the front gate to complain.  The park ranger (very cute!) is at the offending campsite now, so I think things will finally settle down.



What am I going to do?  Somebody has complained to the park ranger about Ruthie and Matthew's cryin'.  I broke down and cried when the man came out here to make us hush.  If I could leave right now I would, but Sam's got the keys to the pickup.  I'm stuck here with two sick babies and I don't know what to do.  I told all this to the park ranger.  He says he's sorry, but there's nothing he can do.  He says I've got to keep the kids quiet.  I'm so tired and I can't stop crying.



Things improved a little after last night's visit to Campsite 36 by the hunky park ranger, but things are even better now:  that girl and her two little darlings cleared out about an hour ago.  While James and I had our morning coffee (Hazelnut, fresh brewed, not instant -- mmmmmmmmm), we watched as her husband took down their rinky-dink tent and loaded it into his dented, dusty pickup truck.  He seemed real upset with her, but I couldn't hear exactly what he was saying as he slammed stuff around and cursed.  James thinks the guy was angry at her for spoiling his weekend.  She was crying when they drove away.  Somebody really needs to give that girl a talking to.




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