If something can be effed up, I’m the one for the job. I planned to go on vacation in the mountains. My idea was to find solitude, take in some scenery and eat at some really nice restaurants. So here I go with my two dogs, some comfortable clothes and my Lexus. I had checked the forecast, it would be cold, but not freezing. There was some high quality shopping within an hour’s driving distance and several five star restaurants where I could indulge my foodie urges. Now, the plan was to get some writing done, shop in Eureka Springs for a few Christmas gifts, a piece of art and eat at a restaurant I could review for the magazine.
Now, I considered things – I really did. I thought about taking a four wheel drive, but I didn’t know if I could master the difference in the shifting. I also considered taking food with me, since the cabin I rented had a full equipped kitchen. But nah – - I thought I knew what I was doing. So I took off, driving from East Texas to northern Arkansas, almost on the Missouri line. I left at seven-thirty in the morning and arrived at my destination around seven-thirty in the evening – a much longer drive than I anticipated, because the closer I came to Ponca, Arkansas, the worse the driving conditions became.
There was ice and snow – where there wasn’t supposed to be ice and snow! Now, when I got close, I realized something else, there were no stores, no restaurants – nothing. Only trees, sharp curves, high mountains and rushing streams. By the time I arrived, the weather was too bad to turn around and hunt provisions. I was stuck in my glorious cabin with two dogs and dog food. Thank God, I brought my Keurig coffee pot. Now, the cabin is nice. It’s in a group of cabins and one of them is called the First cabin because several presidents have stayed there – Bill Clinton, for one. The one I’m in wasn’t that nice, but there is a hot tub, a loft, a huge fireplace, a magnificent view, big beds, big shower – - lots more room than I need – but I like to look at it all.
Now, I was determined to make the best of it. I communicated with my assistant and explained the situation and told her if I never came back – if I expired on the mountain, would she please see that the terms of my will were carried out. But, I’m too young to die. I called down to the number I used to rent the cabin, and found there was a guy there who had a buddy, who had a truck and they took mercy on me and brought me frozen lasagna, roast beef, artisan bread and breakfast sandwiches. Good lord! A Culinary Nightmare!
But beggars can’t be choosers, so I made them both some hot chocolate I found in the cabinet and lusted after them for a few minutes. I think if either of them would have been alone, I might have been propositioned and to tell you the truth, ménage visions were going through my head – - but it was too dang cold to get naked.
Oh, well. I’m still here. I still have no food to speak of. And I’m still iced in. But this morning, I was brave. Let me tell you what I did… There are some pictures below to show you where I am. I’ve been sitting on the porch, rocking in the rocking chair, keeping the fire going – nice calm stuff. But as I was looking out the window, I saw a hammock! I’ve always wanted to try out a hammock. It was strung between two trees up on the side of the mountain next to the cabin. An attractive nuisance. I put on my layers of clothing, such as they are and trudged off. Now, when I got to it – - I tested it. I pushed on it, swung it back and forth and deemed it safe. So, I crawled up in it and laid down. I looked up at the sky and marveled at my beautiful world. The sun coming up over the mountains looked like a shot out of the movies. It was wild! I stretched and wiggled and giggled. And then BAM! Something happened. The world as I knew it ended! The ground came up and knocked the mess out of me and then I rolled – over and over – downhill, through the snow! My breath was gone, my head hurt. One of the strings that held up my damn hammock had broken and I had careened down the hill like one of those cartoon talking animals, yelling and fussing and giggling all the way down. The only thing that didn’t happen was me gathering up snow as I went and becoming a giant snowball. When I reached the bottom, I was powdered up and frosted, but basically unhurt. My two dogs stood watching me, worrying for their own survival because the human who was supposed to care for them had so little common sense.
Well, I’m sitting back in the cabin now, hoping the ground will warm up enough for me to make my slippery way down the mountain and find some decent food, some decent shopping and some toilet paper. The life of a writer is not always glamorous.
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