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Sunday, July 24, 2005

Walt Cooper -- At the Fire

Originally Posted - 03/04/2005 : 12:23:03

It never goes the way you think it will. I'd just finished my steak and was thinking of turning in when the headlights started showing. Pretty soon the parking apron was full.

I guess what was eating me was that for some reason I thought I should be orchestrating the whole thing-- not that I could, or not that I wanted to. In the past, there had always been someone there. Gramps or Pop or someone was divvying up the chores, suggesting bunking arrangements, getting food stashed. For some reason, it felt like it should have been me this time, but it wasn't.

In the space of 10 minutes, three carloads pulled up. One was a Cooper. The other two was the first load of McKays and a Steinholtz' Beamer. Craig Steinholtz had just come out just to say hello. The next thing I knew there was pandemonium. Then little Jackie flew into my arms and we were spinning around. I carried a couple of bags in for folks and then it was over. It all had pretty much arranged itself without me. It was even someone else that that remembered to turn on the parking apron floodlights.

Jackie hopping on Jack's bunk was a surprise. My first take on it was to help Joe move him to another bunk, but then I realized it was just fine the way it was.

Dad had made the ideal aloof patriarch. Jack had been the perfect comic foil. Once Dad was gone, Jack had managed to keep the twosome going in a way, just by always referencing the same old schtick in everything he did. Now both voices were silent

I'd have to get comfortable with the idea that it was me now, and that I'd have to fall into my own way of dealing with camp with the others. While folks settled in I went out and dumped the grill into the firepit and laid in a faggot. While it was coming up, I tepeed a few nice ones so we'd have a good bright fire. I then shut off the lights over the parking apron and sat watching the fire.

In a bit, a big paw wrapped itself around my shoulder and shook it.

"Good work, Walt," said Craig, "Still keeping the fire going." As he lumbered around I noticed how huge his silouhette was. No wonder they'd always hired these guys as lawyers. This was a guy you did not want to see in a dark alley.

"Oh, Craig!" I replied. "Good to have you out. You want a steak?"

"No, I just wanted to come out and see things get started."

"You hunting?"

"Naw. At least not this weekend. I've got a deposition cooking out on the coast, Monday. I'll be back, though."

"Everything cool with the Association?"

"Nothing that can't wait until the December meeting. We're catching flak again on the sanitary."

"We're grandfathered in. Cheeze and Rice! We could still be running everything directly into the creek. Why? What are they saying."

"It's more of the same. They're questioning capacity."

"Tell them that if they don't leave us alone, The next time Ernie pumps out the tank, I'll have him leave it on their lawns."

". . . as I said, nothing that can't wait. Good to hear that old Cooper roar again."

"Yeah." I said. "They know we'd do it, too. Does this go down as billable?"

"Naw." Craig chuckled. "I'll put it down as entertainment expense and bill it to the firm. . . along with this." He produced a paper bag and two enamel coffee mugs from the kitchen. In the bag was a bottle of Glen Fiddich.

"Ach no!" I exclaimed "Craig, no wonder y'aint havin' any fun. Laddie, ya picked the ugliest one in the flock. Come 'ere and try mine." I poured two stiff ones and handed Craig one as he swung himself over the log.

"Here's to lost souls."



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