Tuesday, September 07, 2010

Paddle Faster, We're Out of Moonshine

“Hey man, we’ve got a little bit of a problem” Charlton M. Bouchemeyer said from the knee-deep water of the slowly-turning eddy current.

He had an entire deadfall oak snag draped over his shoulders and a paddle in one hand, so I was terribly intrigued.

“What kind of a problem” I said, eyeballing the massive limb. “The kind of a problem where I have to duct-tape a 12-stich-needing gash in your chin back together again? That kind of a problem?”

“No, idiot – and that wasn’t my fault, you know that” he said, shrugging the massive, rotten limb off onto the sandbar I stood upon and reaching into his back pocket for a silver flask.

"There's some more firewood" he said as the rotten log began to crumble from its impact with the ground.

“I got ants all over me” he continued taking a long pull of his signature beverage, “Apple Pie Moonshine” and shivering slightly.

“So what. Everybody’s got ants all over them. What’s the big deal? You’re not seriously allergic to ant bites or something are you? Wimp."

CB squirmed uncomfortably, and said “Jimmy, I’ve got 40 fire ants between my knees and navel right now and I think I feel more in my hair. I’m A L L E R G I C and I don’t have any Benadryl or an epi-pen.”

“CB, if you have a serious insect allergy and you came on a South Georgia river trip with no epi-pen, then I’m face to face with natural selection and its taking sides against you.”

“CB– I got Benadryl!” George piped up from the fireside where he had been preparing hotdogs for dinner (extra sand, light pine bark, hold the bun), “Well. Not Benadryl exactly. Will Tylenol PM work?”

CB, relieved, accepted the proffered pills from George and said “You reckon it’d hurt me to take ‘em with moonshine?” “Nah!” everyone said; except Fred who said “mmppppmmmm!” with an emphatic shimmy, indicating his assent from a position face-down in the sand.

The two Tylenol PM seemed to calm CB down, or at least he didn’t say much more about it, so I figured all was well.

General revelry continued.

We polished off the remaining fruit roll-ups and beef jerky, then James produced a box of Triscuits and Bud dug a summer sausage out of his kit and we started in on appetizers.

Someone set Fred’s radio on fire and someone else got cheeky and burned up the 2lb bag of M&M’s, loudly proclaiming that “Candy Is For Girls.”

Hank pulled himself out of the fruit jar and offered to fight anyone interested, but had no takers.

James, the only one to erect a tent, began snoring from inside it. Judson pulled all his tent poles so it collapsed over him like a giant sack. He did not stir.

George and I had another hot dog.

A short while later I caught a glimpse of Charlton M. Bouchemeyer, East Tennessee River Rat, silhouetted against the fire; lower lip and eyelids bulging and swollen, face growing puffy and red.

“CB. You’re getting all swollen up!” I said drawing the attention of 8 sets of bloodshot eyes to his rapidly-deforming features. “Are you ok?”

“Nah. Not really.” He said.

“I really itch. Bad. Especially my eyelids and face and body and head. I think it’s about to get serious, but I think I’ll probably be ok because I got more moonshine and I just took those Bendadryl.”

“It’ll buff out” mumbled Judson.

When we awoke in the morning we were all relieved to find that CB wasn’t dead, and could only surmise that his fire ant allergy is not actually that serious.

We continued downriver the next day, having gone through nearly all our supplies and soaked all of our dry clothing; ultimately taking the canoes out another 12 miles downriver. We retired to the deer camp and proceeded to recover from our overnight float trip; then followed it up with a traditional southern dove hunt the next day. It was James Galloway, future brother-in-law,’s first shotgun experience.

Afterwards, having done quite well on the field of battle, James approached me and said “you know Jimmy, most people would look at me and see my appearance, physique, eyeglasses, bearing, and demeanor and, they wouldn't realize it; but I am quite the athlete. I may be a bit of an inside dog, but I have great hand-eye co-ordination."


He stood, borrowed 12-gauge shotgun in hand, gleam in his eye, and proudly held aloft two small gray birds."

“I did it!” he crowed, triumphantly.

All things considered: it was a good way to go out.

Adios single life, you’ve been good to me.


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