Oct. 09, 2002
Trip to the forest brings new challenges
By STEVE EDDY, K.C. Star
I'm writing from a log cabin buried deep in the forested hills of southern Missouri. Staring down at me as I type on my laptop computer is a huge deer hung high on the wall above the old stone fireplace. Actually, it's only the deer's head, but every time I look up, he's staring down at me.
Nailed to the log walls throughout the cabin are various animal skins, and nearly every light fixture is decorated with some type of bleached antlers.
I'm out in the middle of nowhere. My wife decided it was time to get away from civilization for a weekend. After taking my third unsolicited telephone sales call of the evening from someone trying to convince me to refinance my home or clean my carpets, I readily agreed that we needed to get away -- and quickly -- before I started making rude remarks to the solicitors who were apparently trying to make their calls before the state's new law takes effect on Nov. 1.
I don't know how she did it, but she found this log cabin which is so remote I had to throw away the road map and rely on my global-positioning device to find it. The only sign of civilization is the small satellite dish nailed to a big pine tree next to the cabin -- but that was at least tempered by seeing the squirrel sitting on top of the dish as we drove up to the cabin.
We sometimes get so used to the fast pace in Johnson County that we forget to slow down a little and enjoy life. At least, that was what I thought when we decided to spend the weekend miles from the nearest grocery store or gas station.
In fact, the frustrations of city life were probably only traded for the new challenges of surviving miles from the nearest human being.
The jobs of washing the cars and mowing the grass were replaced by the challenge of lighting a campfire so we could toast marshmallows. Feeling like Daniel Boone, I took out my trusty Bowie knife -- which was actually my small Swiss Army pocket knife with a 1-inch blade -- and began whittling a log to make tinder for a fire. The family disappeared somewhere in the process, but two hours later I had a roaring fire ready to go.
So, I went into the cabin, got them all out of bed, and forced them to toast their marshmallows.
I figured a day of horseback riding would help the family appreciate nature. We rode for hours up and down hills, crossing into Arkansas and riding down ravines and through herds of bison and longhorn cattle, before riding back through thick Missouri forests.
That night I figured out why cowboys in the old western movies walked bow-legged and were careful when they sat down.
The cabin's bathroom even posed its own unique challenges. The first time I opened the door and walked in, I promptly ran directly into a giant log supporting the roof. The bathroom looked like a construction afterthought because it was built where the roof angled down and you had to stoop to go in. I eventually figured I could see myself in the mirror to shave by lowering the lid of the toilet and sitting in front of the tiny sink.
It also took getting used to looking up while laying in bed at night and seeing the head of an animal staring down from its perch on the log wall above the headboard.
In the fast pace of everyday life, we often get so wrapped up in kids' school projects, the office, and weekly chores around the house that we forget we're also supposed to enjoy life. Sometimes it takes going to the other extreme to remind us of different ways to have fun.
The weekend in the middle of nowhere recharged my batteries, and I'll come back mellow and relaxed. Maybe you should think about trying your own way of getting far from civilization.
OK, I'm still remembering the horse ride and being a little careful when I sit down, but I might actually be fairly nice to the caller of the next unsolicited sales call I get.
On second thought, I'm not that mellow.
Steve Eddy is a former Olathe City Council member and is president of an Olathe-based security company. Send your thoughts to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Jeff "Jesse" James - Owner of Jesse's Hunting & Outdoors
You can always tell who's in 2nd place by who's whining and crying the most. - Old hockey coach.
Dum spiramus tuebimur
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"In the beginning of a change, the patriot is a brave and scarce man, hated and scorned. When the cause succeeds, however, the timid join him... for then it costs nothing to be a patriot." -Mark Twain
I'd like to see the look on his face if he had to head into the back country with a 30lb pack and cover 150 miles in 8 days... "extreme"?
whats wrong with making rude comments to salespeople who take you away from your supper and interrupt your quiet time?