Saturday was my fifth consecutive Memorial Day weekend at Shady Beach in southwest Missourah. If you click the "Shady Beach" label at the bottom of this post, you can read about previous years' racism, nudity, homophobia, and various drunken exploits.
This year, the float trip had a different feel. The bus ride upstream was slow and steady rather than fast and terrifying. The people we met along the way -- the older couples distributing jello shots, the pale and skinny youth (who was apparently just released from the hospital) who sung the praises of his old pit bull/dachshund mutt -- were kind and strangely "normal".
In a disappointing flip of circumstance, the awful folks we have become accustomed to seeing near the Ozarks were not on the river. They were in our campground. Yelling. Cheering a passing truck with a rebel flag flying from the bed. Shouting, "WHY DON'T YOU HELP ME FIND MY FUCKING INHALER??!!" in the wee hours. I can't recall all the horrible conversations that kept me up at night. Perhaps they'll be noted in the comments.
But aside from our bad neighbors, the river was good to us. Brian was happy to be back at Shady Beach.
And happy to be enjoying Red Grape MD20/20.
But terribly disappointed in the Bush's baked beans.
Gav and Jessica were happy, too, as Gav gave his signature fist pump after a flawless first float.
But Jessica was less happy after sampling the MD.
Grant was loving life, even though his beer of choice was Keystone.
There before any of the cooking utensils arrived, we improvised a hot dog turner from a wire hanger that had sat in my trunk for the last 5 years, waiting for such a need to arise.
And we looked fantastic.
Our pale bodies were unscathed. No one in our group was sunburned. No one got sloppy, pass-out drunk. Rather, we all got fun, stumbly drunk. Like responsible, mature adults. Surrounded by assholes.