In less than a month I will be on the road again. It has been over 18 months since my last road trip and the trip involved seeing the same girl that I saw in September 07. The weekend of my departure will be Memorial Day weekend. This is customarily my weekend for adventure. Last year I adventured to Utah to say good-bye to a dear friend as she left for a mission. The year prior to that I was in Boise for a friend’s wedding. However, as this coming holiday is almost upon me I’m reminded of time in high school and the Memorial Day traditions of then.
I do not come from a family of campers, but when invited, Chad and I would go. Members of my church often went to a favorite campground in Central CA called Turlock. Barbara and her family were there. Alan and his family (which consisted of 7 kids at the time but eventually ballooned up to ten kids. Kenny and his family were there (This is who we often traveled with.) There were other but I don’t remember who except one. Katie and her family were there. This last family is important to my memory.
The memory I have is a day spent walking the river. There was Kenny, Chad, Matt, myself and then about 4 or 5 other people. We had a little raft with us that each person towed in turn as we traveled down the river. At times it was 4 feet deep and at others it was only a foot. The rocks below your feet were slippery with algae. There were large forests of “sea weed” that you had to jump over or swim over (or convince your brother Chad to pull the raft over with you in the raft).
At some point Kenny (who had wooed us with his cup burning/water boiling show the night before) figured out that in those “forests” there were crawdads. So we started collecting them. If you were younger (cough cough me cough matt cough) you pointed them out to Chad and Kenny and they would pick them up for you. By the time we got back to camp, the raft was nearly full. There were 20 or 30 in the raft. Most of us had no clue what we were going to do with them. Kenny had a plan though. He towed the raft ashore and Chad and him carried the raft over to Katie’s Dad. Katie’s dad pulled one out of the raft and proceeded to show Chad and Kenny how to prepare and where it would taste good to eat.
Soon a big pot was found, filled with clean water and put on a stove for boiling. In case you have never boiled crawdads, this next part might interest you. The first one out of the raft went quite easily. When dropped in a pot of boiling water the crawdad goes from a dark red to a light red color. After listening to 25 fellow crawdads sizzle the last few did not go so easily. All the time Chad and Kenny were sizzling the crawdads, Katie’s dad (who is Hawaiian and has a name I can’t spell right now) whipped up a dipping sauce from scratch. Chad and Kenny feasted well that night.
There are a million other memories that relate to that place, but the crawdad cook off is the most prominent.
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