It was the summer time of ’07 if I have my timeline right. Me and a few other guys from Fort Bragg went to spend a weekend at Philpot Lake, VA. We bought two racks of Busch Light, hot dogs, chips, burgers etc. etc…. I was well beyond ‘finding my youth’ but if there was any time in my life that truly made me feel alive again, it was this weekend. Everything was perfect. Including the boat in which we had to drain out every few hours. It may have simply been just another weekend trip for some of the other guys, but it did something for me that I haven’t experienced since being a kid on the Yuba River in California.
The first day consisted of finding the perfect campsite on the island right in the middle of the lake. If anyone is ever on the east coast and wants an awesome place to camp, Philpot is it! The lake itself is pretty big. We would make laps with the boat and a few kneeboards in tow. I could never really get the hang of water skiing but kneeboarding is so much easier. We’d take turns speeding past the public park waving at all the women we could find, showing off our god awful farmer’s tans from way too much time being deployed. As awesome as it would have been to find some cuties to bring back and party at the camp-site, nothing could out-do the fun we had being just the guys. In fact, the entire weekend we still had a rack and half of beer left. You know you’re having a good time when the last thing on your mind is alcohol.
The first night we were pretty much toast. Literally toast. The sunburns had started to set in but none of us seemed to care one bit. At this point at least. The glassy smooth lake made the perfect backdrop to our campfire on the beach. The smores… The dogs… The stories… I even think a few of us slept outside each night. It was the first time in my life I had ever truly seen a firefly. Lots of them! When I think back on it, it was almost like a dream. Something out of a movie. I knew Casey pretty well but the other guys were fairly new to me. None of it mattered though. There was no alpha-male and there was no shame in being who we were. We had our shirts off and had no reason to feel self-conscious about the way we looked to anyone. There was no pressure to drink, or eat or even talk if we didn’t want to. No plans set in stone except the knowledge that Sunday afternoon would be the day we venture back into the mundane life we seemed to be living.
I wish I wasn’t so tired for blogs of this sort. I want to write a better story about this but I simply can’t. For what it’s worth, if no one has experienced a true outing with friends, you’re missing out. It was a guy’s weekend that was made perfect because it was truly a guy’s weekend. No girls to compete for, no awkward third wheels, no chest thumping or over inflated egos. No drama. A boat that would commence an uncontrollable spiral of you let go of the steering wheel was probably the best boat I’ve ever ridden in. I miss those times. A LOT.