On a really funny side note... the tent is identical to one that we bought many years ago while married. Our maiden voyage with the tent found us by that same river with only a few precious moments before darkness fell. Randy was all in a dither and hurry trying to get the tent up while we still had light. He would set up a pole, tell me to hold it secure, and he'd go off to set the opposing one. Well, mine kept falling. (To hear him tell it, I was dropping it, but I wasn't... he was just pulling too hard!) Then the unthinkable happened. I got tickled. The harder I laughed, the angrier he got. The angrier he got, the harder I laughed. Now, Randy didn't get mad too terribly often, and he most certainly never used profanity (directed at me)... but on this particular occasion, when the situation was becoming critical, i.e. it was gettin' dark in them thar hills... he glared at me one last time, and told me if I didn't shut the $%#* up, he was going to throw my @$$ in that #&%* river. So I decided I'd best stop laughing. At least on the outside. But I was so shocked at what he said, that I was absolutely about to bust a gut from laughing on the inside!!! But, I contained my hysterical giggling, and got serious about tent-pitching. I do believe we put the finishing touches on it by flashlight, but thankfully we had a dry shelter in which to sleep. Notice I didn't say warm, because it was freezing cold, and I slept totally buried under the covers. Oh, and did I mention that this was back in the olden days, when it was permissible to pitch a tent anywhere along the river as long as your stakes weren't in the (one-lane, dirt) road. We were in The Big Bend. No lights. No bath-house. No nothing. Just us and the wilderness. The next morning when he made coffee out of water from the river, I didn't feel like laughing any more. I was ready to go home.
But I digress... this is Whitney and Dustin's camping trip I'm blogging about, not mine. Perhaps I shall tell more stories about "our river" another time. For further info on my family's history with this particular river, read this post.
Though Whitny and Dustin stayed at an obscure little campground at the bottom of the mountain, with electricity, water, and a facsimile of a bath-house, there still was no cell phone signal. At some point she was able to text me to let me know the tent went up fine, the weather was fine, everything was just fine.
Meanwhile back at home, I was having a wonderful time with the munchkins! They were perfect little sweeties. On Friday, we went to the mall to "the jumpy place" and they had a grand time.
They played outside on the jeep till dinner time, then Greemaw fed them deliciously nutritious Happy Meals from McDonald's, while I my ownself enjoyed some seasoned talapia, broccoli and baked potato from Captain Ds. Or more accurately, I enjoyed the talapia. Wish I had known the kids would eat most of my plate (which worked out great for me anyway), and I'd have held off on the Happy Meals. Corey ate most of the broccoli and potato, and Leyland ate all of the rice and a little bit of the fish. Oh well. At least MY dinner food wasn't wasted. We all enjoyed it. Just as well they didn't much touch their food last night, because today Leyland wanted to go back to McDonald's "to play". So, I decided a quick lunch of chicken mcnuggets, apples and chocolate milk, then a little time on the playground would be just what they needed right before naptime! While we were there, Whit called and said they were home already. Their camping trip was a success!! They arrived home safely, all camping gear intact, and they caught eight trout besides!! The fish were really biting, they said, and they could have caught more, except they only bought one trout stamp, and were respectful of the laws that dictate the daily limit. Whitney caught four, and Dustin caught four. (I'm sure glad she didn't get carded, because she just doesn't look like a "Dustin"!) So, I was very happy to know that they were home, and after a bit, rounded up the kids from the playground and headed home. They were so proud of their catch, and couldn't wait to show me.
Can I just say.... WHOA BABY!! I have grown up all my life catching, attempting to catch, and eating trout caught out of that river. The average size that the fellas usually came home with was maybe 7 or 8 inches (before cleaning, with the heads still on!). Sometimes maybe a 9 or 10 inch fish would make its way home, and boy, oh boy, would there EVER be some razzin' between those dear men of ours! Some years the catch would consist of what should probably have been considered fingerlings, but we ate those "minnows" anyway, and loved every tender little morsel.
My daddy, my brother, my uncles, and my male cousins, and Whitney's daddy would all just probably faint dead away if they saw the fish that Whit and Dustin brought home. Oh. My. Goodness. Even after cleaning, (with their heads cut off), one of the fish was almost 13" long!! Seriously! I even accused her of going to a trout farm, but it would have cost them a week's pay for these huge monsters at a trout farm! I'm posting pictures. The red dish is a platter. Though the photo with the pink tape measure shows a little less than 12", it was in reality closer to 13". (yeah, yeah... but you should have seen the one that got away...) Seriously, it was the angle I was standing when I shot the photo. The things were so huge they kept sliding off the platter.
We froze them up real good and soon we'll be having baked or grilled trout. Mmmm Mmmm Good!!!
I'm so proud of them for handling Campin' By The River, for having a great weekend away, and still in a bit of shock and awe at the monster fish they brought home. Eat your hearts out, Butt-In-Brothers!!!!
Sure wish I could go back to The Mountains one last time, with all our menfolk there, safe and healthy, for one more fish fry... one more night of all the magic that happened when our family was together. I sure do miss those days, and the way things used to be. I really miss those Stainback men too.
Whitney and Dustin, perhaps they are smiling down on your big catch, and remembering the days when they, too, fished in the river!!