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A spring break worth remembering

By Staff | Apr 17, 2009

Photography school had been grinding, and the thought of getting away for spring break was fabulous. Now, what to do? There were four of us students – monetarily all broke, yet wanting to have a great time. It certainly didn’t take us long, however, and we had developed a plan!

The whole spring break scene would play out like this: Day one would be a full day of activities at Paul’s dad’s plush country club – entirely compliments of Paul’s father. (I just love a guy like this, don’t you?) Next, we would be heading to Paul’s dad’s remote camp in northern New Hampshire for a couple of days of roughing it, with Paul Sr. joining us.

Perfectly manicured pine trees and beds of massive orange and lime green tulips greeted us at the country club. After spending just moments on the grounds, I realized I was in over my head. Athletes were everywhere – most of them looking like they were candidates for the Olympics. I also quickly became conscious of the fact that many of these folks were weekly, and even daily, guests of the club. They obviously had not grown up in homes where spending time in the rhubarb patch and weeding the garden came before swimming.

Protocol for our first sport, tennis, required we change into the club’s sportswear, all white. I even had the Scandinavian legs to match! At this time I had an attractive 29-inch waist and must admit I did look trim and tailored as I strolled out onto the court. We were quickly paired to play in doubles. Any confidence I had gained by being trim was quickly swished away as the fuzzy yellow balls came towards me with great speed. For the next hour, I not only attempted to play tennis but did a comedy routine that reminded folks why they so loved Lucy, Phyllis Diller, and Jerry Lewis. Where did my “friends” get the idea I could play tennis? Upon leaving the court, I handed the attendant my racket and said, “There is no charge for me reshaping this into a handy fly swatter.”

Next up was horseback riding. I realized that trusting the instructor would be part of the adventure. I made good and sure he knew I had never ridden a horse big mistake! Before I knew it, I was saddled up on “Lout.” When the instructor had discovered I was from North Dakota, he said, “Why you are from the land of cowboys. I am sure you will be a natural!” Before long he was telling me to “relax and go with the horse – move as one.” Please realize that beneath me was a horse that had the girth length of I-94 and tonnage of a buffalo! Relaxing was not high on my priority list. While holding on for dear life, I received a signal from my superb Scandinavian social instinct monitor. The signal was coming through loud and clear you and Lout are not going to ever be close associates. One of my grade school teachers often reminded our class, “A better you comes in small steps.” I knew I was galloping way too fast towards a better me. Thank goodness I survived horsing around.

My friends all played tennis well, they rode horse with ease, and you should have seen them at archery. I realized at this moment that spending all that time in the rhubarb patch and weeding had made me a bit of a nonconformist here. Having experienced earlier flubs in my life, I just let it slide to the back of my mind. We were now headed to the clubhouse for lunch, and I knew this would be a breeze.

Out East many folks will call their cabins ‘camps.’ The next day we were off to their camp in northern New Hampshire. Our drive from Boston was filled with nature’s springtime gifts. Of note were the many colored azaleas. Upon our arrival, we began our hike to the cabin. My eyes met beauty in the thick forest and a carpet of heavy green four-leaf clover cushioned our steps. Water tumbled down chasms of dark rocks along with purling waterfalls, creating a duet that showered our eardrums with pleasure.

Arriving at the camp, we began to feel and see snowflakes as we stepped onto the front porch. Within a short time, snow was falling heavily, and the joy of a spring storm was unwrapping about us. Inside the cozy cabin, the cast iron stove was warm and inviting. It had been started by the cook that Paul’s dad had hired. He had been here earlier in the day and would be returning to perform his duties.

Pines were soon laced with ribbons of snow, and as the winds began boost we knew our cook was not coming. Now, to five men in a cabin this could be a challenging adventure. I had taken the time to survey the well-stocked larder and knew that accommodating the appetites of those gathered would be easy.

You must keep in mind that my other four companions would have been hard-pressed to prepare a Pop Tart! After all, they had been working hard on their archery, tennis and horseback riding!

In a daring maneuver, I retrieved a huge black skillet from the cupboard and informed them I was about to make supper. I slid that skillet onto the hot cast iron range with ease and began to pan fry chicken. All of a sudden the place was filled with a fantastic aroma. “Glory be,” I thought to myself, as I discovered an old large blue roaster into which I placed the pan-fried chicken before sliding it into the oven.

Fresh lemons were available, and as you know, I have had the lemon meringue pie recipe committed to memory almost from birth. I was certainly on the roll toward a good meal. I made homemade rice pilaf and finished my game plan with a fresh garden salad. All the time I was praising the cook for bringing such a selection.

My greatest “serve” from this trip came when I sent out the call that supper was ready. As I drew back my bow and aimed, I knew once their hungry lips met my pan-fried chicken, I would hit the “bull’s eye.” It was also high time that someone “hitched” these guys to the idea that time spent in the rhubarb patch, weeding the garden, and cooking on the range can be as impressive as a game well played.

Repnow is a Rugby resident.

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