Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Family, Fireworks & Floods

As a general rule, Mehaffeys love to camp. Our little family of three usually camps multiple times each summer. Chester, especially, thoroughly enjoys his weekends in nature. See how happy he is?

Every once in a while, we have the privilege of being joined by even more Mehaffeys (and soon-to-be-Mehaffeys, and basically-almost-Mehaffeys) on our outdoor excursions. Since all three Mehaffey boys live in Nashville, along with their respective ladies, it's pretty convenient for Mama and Papa Mehaffey to come down here for various mini-reunions. With the extended 4th of July weekend, we took advantage of the opportunity to celebrate the holiday as a family.

Don and Elaine parked their pop-up trailer into lot #5 at the RV park just north of town (where Matthew "Officer Mehaffey" is currently stationed), and Brad and I popped up our tent, right outside. We wasted away the weekend playing Ladder Ball, Corn Hole (Southern translation of the Yankee's "Bean Bag Toss"), swimming, reading, grilling, roasting marshmallows, making s'mores, and enjoying the relaxed time with family.

Along with the anticipation of the South's #1 fireworks display, Saturday, the 4th of July brought along with it ominous clouds and threats of thunderstorms. Determined to witness the pyrotechnic tribute to our nation's independence, we ignored the howling winds and rumors of tornado warnings, grabbed the dogs (Chester, and his cousin, Kate), loaded into a couple of vehicles, and headed towards downtown, over an hour before the celebration was to begin in order to guarantee decent seats within the projected crowd.
We procured space in the East Park with a great view of the Riverfront and LP Field, where the fireworks would soon be originating. Shortly after we arranged our camping chairs, it began to sprinkle. Luckily, there were some tents still erected from the Chicken Festival hosted earlier in the day. As the rain began to pick up, we relocated to the pseudo-shelter, post haste!
To our surprise, the not-so-distant skyline was illuminated by a spectacular show of sprinkling fire, an entire hour earlier than scheduled! Brad and I managed to get one decent picture taken with the salute to our nation's freedom in the background before torrential rain downpoured upon us. We huddled together against the slanting raindrops under our now measly refuge. Only five minutes into the display, we could no longer see the clusters of sparkles through the sheets of rain and flashes of lightening, or hear the BOOM! of the fireworks over the ROAR! of the winds and thunder; or over our own uncontrollable laughter!
After only a few moments of the ridiculous situation, we simultaneously agreed (whether verbally or nonverbally, I don't recall) that it was high time for us to make a mad dash to the car. The boys hastily grabbed the folded chairs, Heather held fast to Kate's leash, and I thrusted Chester into my running arms, and we high-taled it out of there.
We sloshed through puddles, slipped on mud, and lost a couple flip-flops before clambering into the car and giving ourselves over to fits of laughter! Our attempts to remain dry were futile. We were drenched. Absolutely sopping wet with water dripping from each of our noses. We may as well have just played in the rain. Within the security of the car, we joyfully reminisced about the scene as if it had occurred decades before, rather than mere moments.

Once our soaking bodies were all piled atop one another, the family headed toward Dairy Queen (of course) to meet Matthew, who was "patrolling the area." We convinced one of the employees to take a group picture of us, to better remember the time that we celebrated our country's birthday in the midst of a Tennessean hurricane.
We arrived back at the campsite to see that our tent and camper were now happily residing in a lake. The water was well up to my mid-calf as I maneuvered into the camper to gather some belongings - we had (easily) decided to spend the last evening of the holiday weekend comfortably in our warm, dry, cozy house. We created an assembly line from the tent and camper to the car. Those who had flip-flops that could easily wade through the pond were handing blankets, pillows, and toothbrushes to those on the bank in tennis shoes, who hurdled the posessions into various trunks of vehicles. We'd come back in the morning to actually pack up the camp site, hoping for dryer weather.
We concluded our weekend not with the highly anticipated campfire pancakes, but instead with a nearly-as-good breakfast at IHOP. We all looked a mess from the soggy events of the previous evening, but we didn't care. As long as we were together, we were having a great time.
Afterall, that's what family's all about.


Elaine said...


Heather said...

AMEN sister! That was so funny to read and remember! This is one holiday we won't forget! Love you!

Jen said...

Mindy, you have a true writing talent. Have you thought about writing a book or freelancing articles? I loved your descriptive language.

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