Monday, October 08, 2007

Vikings outside of my safety circle


Heavy Rock, Viking Style
Originally uploaded by V'ron.
So Brian went to see Thor Friday night, and he reports that it was all we expected it to be, and more. When I asked him how it was, he got this look on his face like I get when I've gone to a Mark Shurilla and the Greatest Hits show, except mine gets all incredulous from the audience, rather than the show itself. This is the first time in a long time either of us got that look on our face from the act. Because, face it, we've seen it all. (When you've just been to George Clinton and his band, wearing everything from sparkly multicolored hair to a giant diaper and glitter shoes, you start to believe you've seen it all). Or so we thought. Brian originally was going guest blog this up, and as usual, our lives got in the way (he had a Dr Chow show to play and kids to watch Saturday while I was gone all day). Even so, he would be rendered speechless every time I pressed him for Thor details. "Ohmygod" he would just shake his head and mutter. And Brian's not usually at a loss for words. Here's what I could gather (and the pictures he shot tell a lot of the story): Costume changes, effects, and heavy heavy rock, Viking style. The couple dozen hardcore fans that were there loved it, and Brian got some trivia question right, so we are now the proud owners of a Thor DVD Retrospective (with our own pristine copy of the Merv Griffin "Piece of the Action" appearance now in our home library!) "He's totally on to himself, and he was having lots of fun with this," Brian said. But there was plenty of elbow room, (and I've whined about this before) Vnuk has got to learn that not all acts can stand on their reputation alone. You have to do some promotion. As for openers Carbellion? "They kick ass. They rock. You definitely want to see them. Heavy. Supermassive heavy." I'm glad to hear this. They were on my doglist ever since pulling out of that 7 band bill with Snooky a few months back, so it was good that Brian went into them without prejudice to get a fair hearing. He also saved me from an unnecessary trip to Vnuk's Saturday night: caught the word that Beautiful Bert had cancelled, so I didn't even bother making the trip to Cudahy Saturday night. Enough out-of-the-ordinary rock for us this week.

No, instead on Saturday, I trucked out to the Kettle Moraine to learn, with about a dozen other women, how to be a leader at Girl Scout camp. Some things change (the fact that leaders even have to be trained is a huge change!) and some things never do. Some of my colleagues even brought their old sit-upon's from their youth. And it all came back to me: the different types of wood to use when building a fire, the correct knots (and how to teach them) to use when putting up a clothesline or throwing somebody a rope. The safety circle you must make before using your knife (arms' length all around you -- and nobody comes inside your safety circle when your jackknife is open) is now pretty much a safety sphere (you need to check above you, too, now). But what grabbed me the most was just how wonderful it was to be out in the woods, with the girls, getting your work done and not even considering it work because you were having a good time. These were women I'd met only once, in the prep class for 3 hours last week, and yet by only noon we were shooting the breeze like we'd been friends for years because we had so much in common: our girls, our memories of our camp, kvetching about our husbands (and as girls, kvetching about boys in general), and remembering being girls ourselves and wondering what the moms could possibly be talking about. It was a diverse group in terms of day jobs, income level, camp experience, but none of that really mattered. The hot day, the cooling breeze, the walks in the woods, no TV, no radio, (I turned off the cell phone after a check in call), all were this great equalizer among a group that didn't need much equalizing to begin with. "Oh, I'm wearing shorts and I didn't shave my legs," one of us mockingly lamented and we all laughed over the, for once, unimportance of that.



dunk bags on the line
Originally uploaded by V'ron.
And I remembered how good food at camp is. The dinner patrol mistakenly put too much water in the cornbread, and rather than give up, they improvised, and used the leftover wheatbread from lunch as a soak-up topping, and I'll tell ya, that was the best damn cornbread I have EVER had in my life. It wasn't a crisis, it was just a mistake that ended up better. I was in the Lunch patrol, and our dessert lacked the gingerbread mix the recipe called for (trust us, we asked many grocery store managers, there is no gingerbread mix to be had in SE Wisconsin because "it's not the season") so we used Pumpkin bread and with the homemade applesauce, and this was a serious dessert. (The whipped cream we brought along made for an Iron Chef-worthy presentation.)

We had the bittersweet moments talking a bit about how some of our camp memories, and the realization that many of the camps were closing or some land wasn't being purchased or whatever, and some aren't being maintained as well. Our trainer's childhood camp has since been closed, but she's happy where we are now. A few other reminisced about the demise of their girlhood stomps. Mine -- Camp Manistee in Montague, Michigan -- was sold off as a matter of fact, and being on the Michigan Eastern shore, I'm sure it’s a bunch of freaking condos. It was that moment in the conversation when I realize the importance of us just being there, to show this to our kids and not let it die. Because we really weren't there just to get "certified." We were there to learn how give them this gift of a place that's carved out just for them to look around at the beauty of nature, hang with the sistahs, and just be girls, with no stupid media in their faces telling they they're not thin or beautiful enough, no stupid boys to worry about shaving your legs for, no stupid psychos waiting around the corner to snatch their purse, no stupid school assignments that may or may not be overdue, a place where the only worry they have is to make sure that the bucket of firewater is full and nobody's inside your safety circle.

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