Kirkkitsch’s Blog

Cats, Candy and Crystal Lake
January 26, 2009, 6:00 am
Filed under: Life

Well, I’m back from my excursion. It was a lot of fun. I took a lot of pictures and genuinely had a good time. As good as you can have while you’re constantly blowing your nose. Ugh. It’s gotta be allergies. I refuse to believe this is another cold. Besides, it doesn’t feel like a cold.

P stayed over Friday night and we made a frozen pizza and watched Beetlejuice. Later, I made sandwiches for the picnic the next day and some tuna salad. We went to sleep around 1:00 and got up at 7:30am. P drove the entire time, which was fine with me, but I was willing to switch. On the other hand, I don’t see him being the type to let anyone drive his truck other than him. He loves that truck. Let’s hear it for inanimate objects! Anyway, our first stop was this place called Robertson’s, which is kinda bizarre, since he’d told me about this place before (he’s a big fan of their beef jerky) and then my friend Erik was telling me about how one of his friends loves this place too. Neither of us (Erik & I) had ever heard of it before. Anyway, it was really cute, and we picked up a container of beef jerky, some divinity (yuck) and some peanut brittle shaped like Texas. M-m-m-m!

Later, around 12 or so, we stopped at the little rest stop where the tables are covered by miniature oil derricks. Since it was pretty cold and gloomy, we opted to have our picnic inside the truck. Soon after, we were back on the road again. Stopping every once in a while to get gas, something to drink or to take pictures along the way.

We arrived around 3 or so, and I got to meet his cousin for the first time (the woman we were staying overnight with). She couldn’t have been sweeter. Her living room has a beautiful view of Crystal Lake. I can’t imagine ever wanting to leave for work, with a view like that. But then, when you DID come home, what a nice place to come home to.

We unpacked, had a little visit and then one of his aunt’s came over (she and another aunt live within walking distance. Yelling distance, even), and they too were anticipating our arrival. P let them know that we would be right back, but he wanted to take me to a nearby town first, before the shops closed. So, off we went…to Louisiana. We literally drove 25 minutes down the road, crossed a bridge into some place called Logansport, and voila! we were in Louisiana. Unfortunately, the stores had already closed (it was 4 now), but I still managed to find plenty of things to photograph. The town was small, but quaint, and P took me down on the waterfront, to show me some historical landmarks, as well as the town’s bridge, which has its own historical significance in regards to steamboats.

Later, P took me sightseeing to some areas of personal interests (mostly off-the-beaten-path dirt roads through the woods). Though there is a lot of poverty in the area, and a lot of rundown/abandoned dwellings, there’s a certain beauty to some of it. I never felt sad about it, but often caught myself wondering how different things might have looked when things were new.

That evening we had dinner at his aunt’s house (taco soup…HELLO!) and I got reacquainted with his aunt/uncle whom I’d met back in December, while they were visiting P’s parents. Everyone was really nice, and made me realize that, as much as I hate to admit it, P was right: “It doesn’t always have to be BAD.” (re: family). This isn’t to say that our family gatherings were awful or dysfunctional (any more than the usual), when I was growing up, it’s just that they always felt kind of awkward to me. I’m sure some of it can be chalked up to my personal insecurities or the fact that I was an only child, but family gatherings always felt kinda forced and ingenuous. I never really clicked with or had anything in common with, any of my cousins. We were like night and day, and it FELT that way. I always felt like my true family was just me, my parents and grandparents. Then after my grandmother died in the 80’s, everything seemed to fall apart: no more holidays with my aunts, uncles, cousins. Everyone had their own families, siblings, and agendas. Needless to say, I learned not to get too attached and/or have any expectations of, “family.” I must admit, I’m still not a big fan and that the whole family dynamic is an alien concept to me, only child or not. My point is: P’s family was very sweet to me, and seemed to genuinely like me. I was taken aback, but not put off by, their hospitality (hugs, kisses, the whole nine yards). It was very sweet and totally unexpected.

Around 8 o’clock, we shot off the fireworks we’d bought back around New Years. A little island connected by a pier, near the lake’s edge, made for the perfect launching pad. There’s something about fireworks that just kinda takes you away, however briefly. The larger, more expensive fireworks were definitely worth the money, what with their rapid succession, sounds (some ‘buzzed’ like bees as they exploded and spun out) and random patterns. Except for a few, everything went off beautifully and everyone seemed to enjoy “the show.” It was a lot of fun.

By this time (9:30) everyone was going to bed, but P and I stayed up and went walking in the nearby woods and around the lake. It was fun, cold and kinda creepy. Afterwards, we went back inside. While P took a shower, I laid out the spread (cookies, candy, etc.) and then when he was done, I took a shower. There was a TV in our room, but no DVD player or VCR. That’s when I pulled out the ‘surprise’ I’d eluded to P earlier: my PSP. We sat on the bed, eating junk food and watching Halloween. Good times.

Then it was time to go to bed, and P wasn’t kidding when he said the bed was enormous: it WAS. Though, I’m not sure if the box springs and/or bed frame were the same size as the actual mattress, because when you sat on the edge of your side of the bed, it kinda bowed down. I had to scoot over considerably, to feel like I wasn’t going to roll off. Trust me, this was no “maneuver/tactic” it was a comfort issue. Other than that, the sleeping arrangements were great. Unfortunately, I spent most of the night coughing or blowing my nose. I’m sure P wished I’d stop breathing altogether, but I couldn’t help it. At one point, I said “screw it” and coughed up some congestion into a tissue…simultaneously scaring the hell out of P, who sat up like a shot, looking startled and bewildered. I said “sorry” and he went back to sleep. Hours later, I heard him saying my name. Apparently I was snoring loudly. I apologized again and he concluded it was probably because I couldn’t breathe through my nose. If this keeps up we’ll never share a bed again. Leave it to me to throw a monkey wrench into the works.

Early the next morning, we got up and P’s cousin made us breakfast (coffee, biscuits & bacon…ah, bacon). I sat in the chair by the picture window, mesmerized by the lake, while petting Ike, a big black cat (one of several kitties his cousin owns). He was adorable. If I could have smuggled him into one of my bags, I’d have taken him home in a heartbeat.

After breakfast, we went to get a newspaper at a nearby convenience store, then came back and began exploring the area around the lake. In addition to a wooded area, there is also a train track that runs parallel to the property. P asked if I’d ever put pennies on the track, and I told him I had once, but it was a long time ago (try decades). So, P pulled out 6 pennies (3 each) and we placed them on the track.

I had a great time, exploring the remains of the once-thriving water park. It was sad to see that so many things had just deteriorated over time, leaving nothing but a shell of their previous functionality. There was the remains of the snack bar, men and women’s changing rooms, the cable car tower, picnic areas and even a game room. I can only imagine how much fun it must have been back in its’ glory days, not to mention what a treat, considering it’s such a small town. It was very Dirty Dancing. After exhausting all picture-taking possibilities, P took me to see the ‘tops’ that used to be anchored in the lake. They were kinda like individual Tilt-A-Whirls, that would spin as you turned the wheel. On the way to see the tops, we passed the “old” snack bar. It was all very cool and retro. Again, I can only imagine.

The train came by and flattened our pennies. I could only locate 4 of them, but that was enough for a souvenir. I also picked up some random railroad spikes. I have no practical use for them, but I got them anyway. LOL! Typical packrat behavior!

By this time, it was after 12 and P’s aunts were back from church and had made lunch. We had hamburgers with grilled onions on them (OMG!) and french fries. My kinda folks! LOL! It was great. We then went to finish taking pictures (my camera’s battery ran outta juice and needed to be recharged while we had lunch) and P found an old windchime (not too old, because the chimes still had the plastic coating on them!) in a junk pile near one of the old buildings on the property, and decided to salvage it: meanwhile, I picked some flowers for P’s cousin. Soon after, we said our goodbyes, sprinkled with kisses and hugs, and were back on the road again. We arrived home around 6pm Sunday evening. P came inside for a bit, but soon left. He drove all the way home as well, and was beat.

Overall, a good time was had by all. My only regret is that I wish we’d had more time & I wasn’t so snotty all weekend. There’s talk of an encore on July 4th, fireworks et al. We shall see. Pictures are coming soon to a Flickr! account near you! Stay tuned.

3 Comments so far
Leave a comment

I’m glad you had such a good time and am sorry about all the snot. It’s hard to present a romantic picture of one’s self when a runny nose and hacking cough keep replacing the cooings of “love” one would like to express. Can’t wait to see the pix.

Comment by Sarah

Hope you’re feeling better now, and I can’t WAIT to see the photos!

Comment by Natalee

I enjoyed reading this post. Your descriptive style makes me feel like I was there too. Sounds like P has a nice down-to-earth family. I’m glad you had such a great time notwithstanding your cough and sniffles.

I’ve never done that with the pennies on a train track.

Comment by Cindi

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