The lakes and mountains of the Adirondacks are a sight to be seen. It was my prerogative to take in the sights and smells every summer, with my good friend Albie Pickens. Only he had brought along his new friend, Scott LaMountain, and in my not-so-humble view had ruined the beginning of our trip by not conforming to the schedule I had in mind. But now we were in full swing. We made it to Lake Eaton, a small New York State campground just north of the venerable Long Lake, really an expansion of the Raquette River, and had set up camp. Under the calm and sure direction of Albie, the three of us were able to erect our nylon tent. We had conquered nature. As the last stake was driven into the muddy ground (did I forget to mention it was raining pretty heavy earlier? Because it was), a car with 2 complete strangers pulled up near the Cougar.
An older man climbed out of his late-model sedan and declared this his site. He’d “reserved” it. See, I also forgot to mention that the New York State park service instituted a new policy that year; a policy in which people could reserve certain campsites like hotel rooms. This burned the asses of guys like Albie and I, who would drive around a nearly empty campground, whose sites were all reserved. You see, there was no system in place for what to do if the assholes who reserved a site never showed up. But that’s a complaint for another day. Let’s get back to the three of us, already in foul moods (in my mind, because of Albie, in everyone else’s because of me) when these jack asses pulled up and tell us to literally pull up stakes and move on. So that’s just what we did.
We lifted the tent into the air, Scott took one side, because he had long, orangutan-like arms. We marched across sites, choosing a new place to call home. Along the way, Scott called out for me to be careful, there was a puddle directly in my path. I stared at him with dead eyes and stepped directly in the puddle, because, well, I guess I just do very stupid things when I’m angry. We settled our new site without incident, almost. We had to take a break at one point so I could scream and yell at Albie, questioning whether or not he truly knew what the fuck he was doing. To his credit, he took it like a trooper. He just set his jaw, crossed his arms and stared me down. Eventually I ran out of hot air and we finished staking the tent back down.
The hard work done, we drove-in to town to do what any self-respecting camper would do: we bought some firewood at a Stewarts gas station. While in town we also stopped by another favorite haunt, Custard’s Last Stand, a mom and pop ice cream stand. Their claim to fame was that the owner was the father of late actor Jonathan Brandis, though I was never able to confirm this. What could have been a simple stop for ice cream quickly became uncomfortable, at least for me. In front of us in line was a young townie we knew from our frequent trips, her name was Nicole and she was of little consequence. The one who worried me was her mother.
On our last camping trip, Albie and I stopped at Nicole’s house to say goodbye. As we made plans to get together the next time we were up, my eyes wandered toward the house, specifically a second story window. It was in this window that I could see Nicole’s mother (who we were told was a MILF by local boys before we ever met her) stepping from the shower and towelling herself off. I know you don’t believe me, I could barely believe it myself, as I watched her slowly pat her supple skin dry; or admiring her own form in the vanity mirror (and what a form!). I stared as long as I dared, and then I stared a little more. It was over the winter that I got an email from Nicole informing me that her mother had seen me staring. Son of a bitch, and I thought I had been so sneaky.
Nicole and her mother, known to us simply as Nicole’s Mom, turned to us with wide smiles and enthusiastic hellos. Albie introduced Scott to the ladies and a chapter was started in his life I’m sure he wishes he could erase (perhaps we’ll touch on that another time, suffice it to say for the time being, she got a little bit Glenn-Close-In-Fatal-Attraction on him). Nicole’s Mom, on the other hand, zeroed in on me. “Well, hello there, Matt,” she half whispered, taking a step closer toward me, “How are you doing?”
“I’m fine, I’m good, I’m…” I was nervous, I didn’t know what to say. I knew that she knew I had seen her naked. But I didn’t know if she knew that I knew that she knew. What the fuck was I supposed to do?
“I saw you naked,” I blurted out, getting the attention of everyone there.
“Yes, you did,” she smiled, “Did you like what you saw?”
I felt a trap closing in on me. That being said, I had no idea how to get out of it. Looking back, I think my tactic was just to make myself look as bad as absolutely possible. “Eh, I’ve seen better,” I poked her shoulder, “Hell, I’ve had better.” I let out a great laugh with this, I was the only one who laughed at this.
There were picnic tables set up along either side of the small parking lot of Custard’s Last Stand; I ate at one, while everyone else gathered around a table on the other side of parking lot. Still the best damn ice cream I’ve ever had.