“If you never have you should,
These things are fun and fun is good.”
– Dr. Seuss
If you thought that the idiotic behaviour I described in last week’s post ended there (click here to read part one), then you clearly don’t know my family.
After shooting each other in the head with fireworks, playing a rousing–albeit vulgar–game of Balderdash, and having a few more drinks, we decided to call it a night. The problem, however, was that we were staying at my Aunt Buggy’s place, located some 5 kilometres or so North of where we were partying in Port Albert.
The simplest solution would have been to ask one of our sober relatives to drive us home. However, we opted for the simpleton’s solution rather than the simplest one and decided the best way to get home was to hike North along the frozen shores of Lake Huron.
And so, after bundling up in warmer clothes, our party of idiots headed out in the cold winter night. Our company of merry men consisted of seven cousins – John and Mike Dalton (brothers), Jonathan Chilton (the one I shot in the back of the head with a roman candle), Luke and Shawn Van Osch (brothers), my younger brother Nick, and me.
For a midnight hike along the ice-covered, treacherous beach, we were sure to bring nothing but the essentials. Obviously, these included a box of red wine and a bottle of Baileys. Always be prepared.
After a short hike from my Aunt and Uncle’s place, we arrived at the high bank that overlooked the lake, and prepared to wind our way down the path to the beach below. Unfortunately I forgot that there was a path at all and ended up taking a giant step over the edge and into thin air. I tumbled down the snowy bank, cursing myself for bringing bottles of beer in my coat pockets as they jabbed into my ribs.
A moment later, Jonathan Chilton, was beside me, apparently having decided that falling down the hill was in fact the best approach.
Dusting the snow off ourselves, we bent our heads to the cold blasting winds and hiked—okay, okay, stumbled—north.
The journey took us 5 times longer than it should have for a few reasons.
we kept tripping over frozen bits of ice, beach logs and each other;
we had to keep Jonathan from running off onto the frozen lake where he would surely find a way to fall into open water; and
we kept stopping every two minutes or so to make a toast and have a drink of Baileys, boxed wine or beer.
Most of the gullies and rivers that spilled into Lake Huron along our journey were completely frozen over so traversing them was not an issue. That is, except for one particularly large stream, about half way through our trek, which was still running. Nick made a heroic attempt to leap the river and ended up with one of his legs submerged in icy water. A moment later I watched as Jonathan attempted the same. I shouldn’t have been surprised, considering he had followed me down the side of the cliff earlier.
Shockingly, he managed to clear the water completely. Lying on his back to catch his breath on the far side of the river with Nick, Jonathan decided to roll over, presumably on his way to his feet. Unfortunately he was lying precariously close to the bank of the river and the direction in which he chose to roll was toward the edge.
My eyes grew wide in horror as half his body dangled a few feet above the icy water below “Nick! Get Jonathan!” I yelled out in panic to my brother. Fortunately Nick grabbed him and hauled him a safe distance away before he fell in.
The rest of us walked inland a bit to a bridge and crossed that way. One of the few smart decisions made that night.
Eventually we made it back to Aunt Buggy’s place. We pretty much carried Jonathan the last kilometer. Shawn broke away from the group at one point to cut across a farmer’s field and somewhere along the way lost what remained of our box of wine. Nick rushed off to take care of his hypothermic leg, his pant leg now frozen stiff.
And as Mike and I sat in the hot tub, begging Jonathan to put his trunks back on; and as John Dalton drove around the backyard on a snowmobile, with Shawn riding on the back in nothing but his gotchies, hooting and hollering into the night sky, I thought to myself, “Man, we’re idiots.”
But man, I wouldn’t change a thing.
Prove to the world that I’m a moron? Check.
Duane Elgin, author of “Voluntary Simplicity”, talked about the “invisible wealth of experiential riches.” My “I’ve Never Club” is inspired by this idea and chronicles my reflections on the novel things I’ve done recently.
Funny stories. Good advice. Josh Martin is the author of the book “Simple(ton) Living: Lessons in balance from life’s absurd moments.” Click here to learn more and to purchase a copy.