Come On Feel The Illinoise River
Last weekend, I floated the Illinois river with eight of my best gal pals. In one of our trip planning emails, someone suggested we don hillbilly attire on the river. I was pretty enthusiastic about this detail, because I…
Naturally, I hit up the Salvation Army and nabbed a great tee from Beaver Street Baptist Church* and a camo ball cap. Grand total: $1.99 + tax. Was I ready to row? Not quite. I decided to amp up the redneck factor by modifying the tee a bit. I planned to cut the sleeves off and make those huge long arm holes that you always see on dudes at the gas station. Of course I didn’t really plan this out, I just started cutting. The arm holes got bigger and bigger as I attempted to ‘even them out’ and eventually the shirt basically had no sides whatsoever. I was now working with a Beaver Street Apron. When I threw it on over my swimsuit, I was proud of how authentically terrible I looked. I completed the look with the camo cap (the cap had a huge white stain on it, which I hope to God was paint or bird poop and not horse ejaculate) and I headed over to Sarah’s house to meet up with everyone and begin the caravan to Tahlequah.
Upon my arrival, I found I was the only person there dressed as a country bumpkin. I was mildly pissed at my friends for looking cute and normal.
The nerve of those hoes. Luckily, Hannah and Bonnie arrived shortly after I did, wearing tacky hick outfits.
The drive to Tahlequah was pretty quick and very scenic. Just as we stopped at a local pizza place to grab lunch before heading to the river, I was instantly ashamed of my attire. I felt obscene and immodest. I considered changing into another shirt, but my bag was at the bottom of a pile of other people’s bags in the trunk of my car. The restaurant was super casual and even had a sign that said “River Rats Welcome”, but I was still really uncomfortable about dining in my apron shirt. When we sat down at our table I pointed at my exposed sides and said “This meal comes with two sides” (pointing to my lumpy sides for added effect.**) To cover more skin, I fashioned some modesty napkins right there at the table.
After lunch, we arrived at Arrowhead Resort (where they use the word “resort” pretty liberally), we checked in, unpacked, and boarded the old bus which would take us upstream with our rafts. I plopped down right behind the bus driver, and I heard a message come over his walkie talkie:
“We’re gonna need you to bring back a bunch of rafts, we’ve got a really big party down here- The Duggars.”
At this point, I started screaming “THE DUGGARS ARE HERE GUYS! WearegoingtofloatwiththeDuggarshowmanyraftswilltheyneedwewilltotallybeonTLC’s19kidsandcountingibettheyhavelongdressswimsuits!”
The annoyed bus driver rained on my parade and informed me that the dispatcher had not said anything about the Duggars, he actually said “We’ve got a really big party down here, Tucker.” The bus driver’s name was Tucker.
Boo. I hate you, Tucker.
However, floating was a blast- we sang, we boozed, we swam, we laughed. After several hours of waterlogged tomfoolery, we docked at camp and headed to our cabin. Our cabin, The Hut, was smaller than many backyard sheds I’ve seen. It was a plywood shack with two bunk beds on the bottom, a tiny set of mini-stairs and a loft containing two full sized mattresses. The Hut had no bathroom, but luckily it was equipped with a window A/C unit. Even so, it got hotter than Satan’s breath in there and the upstairs girls pulled one mattress down and slept on the floor. I still cannot believe nine girls and our stuff fit into The Hut.
After cooking dinner on the grill, we crashed. I was asleep by 9:45, which was good because I woke up at 6:30 to shower and head to Cookietown. Yes, Cookietown is a real place and it exists. It’s in southwestern Oklahoma, only about fifteen minutes to the Texas border. Sunday marked my grandfather’s 50th anniversary as minister of the church in Cookietown. They had a really nice lunch and a commemorative service honoring him and my grandmother. Eric had to work Sunday, and was really sad to miss it. I ate enough food for both of us though.
Sunday evening, I headed back home to Tulsa. I basically saw the entire state*** this weekend:
And I loved every minute of it. What was your favorite weekend of the summer?
* I KNOW.
** This was easily my best joke of the weekend, so I told it three times.
*** Minus Sayre, Alva, and a couple other crappy places.