Before we review the week, it is important to note some attendance changes. We were pleased that our favorite Oregonians, Rick, Tammy, Alex and Amber Lindsley, were able to join us this year. We were all saddened that Marv and Judy Lindsley did not make it up on Wednesday. They were deeply missed. Also this year, Brian, Sarah, Cullen, Noah and Jan Berry decided to switch it up and head out West. Taking over their cottage was John and Jan Durante and their daughter Jen Emmerson and granddaugter, Katelyn.
We were also pleased that Lumpy was able to spend time with us during our visit. He joined in on the first night's festivities in the lodge, spent one afternoon with us on the beach and met the golfers at the Twilight Monday, Wednesday and Friday. Lumpy, it's always great to see you!
With the flurry of e-mails flying back and forth, one could say that our 2008 vacation started a week before we actually arrived at Jackson's. John Durante got the ball rolling by sending an e-mail to the group announcing a major change in the awards voting procedure. In a nut shell, if you bring an award back to St. Germain you don't have to worry about taking one home at the end of the week. One could say that this was a bit self-serving on John's part, but we won't go there! One could also say that this ruling simply ensures that Dave Treleven, John Durante, Bean Durante and Kristy Gusse only have to worry about taking home an award every other year.
Then Kenny jumped in the fray and asked that the group send e-mails of introduction to his new bartender, Kevin. The e-mails started to fly Kevin's way. Oh... had he only made the time to open them before our arrival, he would have been prepared. Instead, he spent his first night, for the most part, impersonating a deer in headlights.
2008 Vacationers were met with warm sun and a cool breeze... perfect for unpacking and settling in. It wasn't long before the beach was a hum with activity. The kids hit the water and the adults hit the beer. When the sun finally set, the majority headed over to Spangs' for a pizza to put in a little base for later lodge activity. Upon arriving at the lodge, we were met by Kenny who kindly asked us to don nametags to make it easier on his new bartender, Kevin... like that was going to help! The lodge antics are covered in the award nominees section.
On Sunday, we awoke to clouds, then rain, then wind and a high of 58 degrees. While it reminded some of our week last year, we all tried to remain positive. Some of the women even went golfing in the morning. Cottage No. 2 built a fire and enjoyed drop-in company off and on throughout the day. Some cottages went bowling in the afternoon. People dined early and hit the lodge only to find another new bartender, Shae. Shae also appeared to be a bit stunned with our group... hmmm. There was singing and dancing in the lodge until last call at 2AM. During the evening's festivities, Val was indoctrinated into the "J-Force" and will forever be known as "Jalorie."
The sun retuned on Monday and while breezy and on the cool side, everybody was outside. Rumor has it that this was the first of several mornings that Bob Kuester and Matt Baier found the right spot and brought fish home. The guys golfed and headed to the Twilight. (The Hammond women met the guys at the Twilight and learned a valuable lesson. Don't try to run with the big dogs if you aren't a big dog!) For the rest of us, there was baseball played in the circle in the morning and swimming, skiing and patriot rides in the afternoon.
Tuesday was a picture perfect day in almost every way. Jim Laasch and Bob Kuester went fishing and actually caught some. The Ryan boys also caught fish off the pier as did the Lindsley family. There were Patriot rides for hours, the kids played "catch" in the shallows and built a waterfall between the Jackson and the Grandview. Vacationers enjoyed a gorgeous sunset and were slow to leave the beach. Later that evening, the Lodge was a frenzy of activities. Some watched the All Star Game go into its fourteenth inning before giving up and going to bed. Others played liars dice. The kids played every game the Lodge had to offer. Most called it a night by 2 AM, but there were a few late-niters that so corrupted our sweet bartender that his name was changed to "Hot Pants." No one is sure how he got the name, nor do we want to know. This is a "Family" home page, after all! Anyway... Hot Pants spent the night on the Hammond's couch. Hmmmm...
Wednesday was Hot, Hot, Hot! Patsy awoke in a haze and wondered why her grandson, Jordan, was sleeping on the couch. It took her quite a while to realize that it was Hot Pants and not Jordan. Packing a bathrobe next year are we, Patsy? Wednesday was also a day of "firsts." Kyle Berry joined the men in a round of golf and a visit to the Twilight. (It's only a matter of time before the Berry Boys have their own foursome!) AND... While some of us were watching the setting sun in hopes of seeing the "green flash," Katie Ryan created her own green flash when using the "figure-eight" move, she took 20 seconds from hook-set to capture and landed a 45 inch musky in Kenny's boat. Cast to landing took less than three minutes. Dad, Jim Laasch, was there to witness this triumph, as was sister, Julie Berry, to capture it on film. At long last, the Laasch Musky Trilogy is complete. This saga has been years in the making and everyone was thrilled for Katie. Great job, Katie! Great guiding, Kenny!
Thursday started out cloudy so it seemed like a good day for Jim Laasch to take his daughters and grandchildren on a pontoon fishing expedition to his favorite fishing spot on Little Saint. Many of us enjoyed watching the preparation to launch activities which seemed to go on forever. It was while we were doing so and sitting on the boathouse roof that someone finally said something about the brown cloud that kept drifting across our noses... Kevin Berry... is that you over there in the trees? The quality and substance were there and it was eye-watering so we immediately thought of Kevin. Jude finally hiked up the hill to examine the new pipes breaking through the ground. One turned out to be a septic vent. Sorry... Kevin.
As fast as the pontoon went out, it returned... only to run out of gas a hundred yards off Jackson's shore line. B.O.B. hopped in Tom's fishing boat and towed the pontoon in. No fish. Well, it was just as well they came back as just about the time the pontoon tied up, the thunder rolled in and the sky opened up. Talk about your monsoon! The walkie-talkies were buzzing all afternoon. Should we wait it out or have the cookout in the lodge? We waited it out. By 5:30 pm, the storm had passed and Kenny used his Kawasaki and a flatbed to haul picnic tables to the Grand View. There was even some Kawasaki flatbed surfing done by Speedo-man who, with a couple of cans of "courage" in him, had a death wish. Ken then broke out the biggest leaf blower we had ever seen and tried to dry off the tables. (I use the term "tried" because table bench sitters walked away with damp butts.) Sean Ryan, as always, did an excellent job as master chef. Kevin, Kristy and Bean all assisted. The rest of us brought a dish to pass and all in all we had an excellent meal. Sean's low-country boil was a huge hit this year. We were pleased that Ken, Linnea, George and Anna all joined us for the picnic. Janet wasn't up to it, but Ken was kind enough to take her a plate.
Friday is always a sad day for us. While our bodies tell us it's time, nobody wants to go home. We awoke to a beautiful day. It was sunny and warm with the promise of a great beach day. B.O.B. took Tom's fishing boat out for a last go at it. Instead of a fish, he caught a canoeist who had fallen out of his canoe and couldn't get back in. There was a fatality in all of this. B.O.B.'s fishing rod got in the way and the tip snapped off. So much for fishing. Scott and Val took Sam and Sarah tubing down the river in the morning and a good time was had by all. After the guys returned from the Twilight, there was skiing, wake boarding, patriot rides, last boat rides and as the sun set in the west, the boats went back on the trailers. A highlight for the group was the surprise visit Janet made to the beach. Ken brought her down on the Kawasaki to say "hello." It was great to see her and she was looking well. After Janet left, some stayed on to watch the sun sink in the sky, others headed up the hill to pack for home and to get ready for the awards ceremony which was scheduled to begin at 9:30 p.m.
2008 again saw the children winning awards. We will start with them... youngest to oldest. (Please note the Fond Du Lac Baiers once again headed south on Friday at noon and missed out on the awards.)
Matthew Berry -- Best Backpacker
Katelyn Emmerson -- Patriot Princess
Johnny Berry -- Best Butt Pincher
Sarah Fosbinder -- First Time Two-Wheeler Champ
Amber Lindsley -- Cannon Ball Champ
Aidan Ryan -- Mr. Tough Guy
Lauren Berry -- Swimming Princess
Nathan Ryan -- Super Rocker
Sam Fosbinder -- 22-Mile Bike Ride Trail Blazer
Kyle Berry -- First Time Golfer Ace
Alex Lindsley -- Patriot Wiz
Skyler Durante -- Foosball Champ
Nicole Birschbach -- Best Raft Runner
Jordan Birshcbach -- Best Wake Jumper
Rebecca Birschbach -- Road Tripper
Congratulations go out to all the kids. Way to go!
So, on to the adult awards. Mary returned to grace the boathouse roof in fine shape and with the railing completed and the hanging ivy-geranium at her feet, she seemed quite happy.
While not competing for the awards, we had two "honorable mentions" this year:
John Durante, Sr.: For asking nobody in general, "When did we get a dog?" only to discover that the reason for the dog was that he was in the wrong cabin. Chester, the dog, was happy to see him, of course. For misplacing his grocery list and having his cabin mates scramble to help find it... in the refrigerator!
Kevin "Hot Pants" Grafwal: For over-serving himself; allowing himself to be kidnapped by Kristy; and couch surfing in the Hammond. Kevin, if Grafwal is not your full last name, let us know what it is so we can write your parents.
Contending for Mary and the Dice (in no particular order) this year were:
Bean Durante: For attempting to surpass her brother's record for the longest sustained inebriation in camp, during which time she: Peed outside her cottage at 3 AM next to a tree. Jen heard the ruckus and exposed Bean with her flashlight. Later that morning Jen asked Bean why she had not just peed in her cabin and got no answer. Bean got up and golfed while still drunk from the night before; left her flip flops, hat, wallet and phone strewn all over the beach; told her horrified mother, "I'm drunk... deal with it"; jumped on the Kawasaki while Kenny was doing garbage pick-up; passed out on the Rinker.
Val Fosbinder: For dancing with the wall in the lodge; for her late-night junk food fest during which she finished off a bag of Cheetos and ate the ends off all the crullers in the cabin. By acting crazy enough in the lodge to qualify as a genuine member of the J-Force, thus her new name... Jalorie.
Julie Berry: For making up for her last two years of nursing-induced sobriety all in the first night in the lodge. There were witnesses that said she was crazy and obnoxious... Julie????
Kristy "Splishy Splashy" Gusse: For dropping her $300 cell phone in the lodge toilet thus earning her the nickname "Splishy-Splashy"; for going to the wrong golf course on Monday; for forgetting to put the Jello in the jello-shots; for kidnapping Hot Pants and making him sleep on Grandma's couch.
Patsy "Flippy Floppy" Schroeder: For seeing her fellow golfers were wearing flip flops on Sunday morning and then putting them on herself and leaving her golf shoes at the cabin. Patsy didn't entertain the thought that perhaps her golfing pals were going to change shoes at the golf course. This earned her the nicknames "Flippy-Floppy" or "Flippity-Flop" for the rest of the week. I bet pivoting on every drive in a flip-flop was a new experience. Maybe they should have named her "Blister-toe!" For trying to steal Julie Berry's sandwich under the pretense of just admiring it; for prefacing every complaint (and there were many) with "I'm not complaining, but... "; for walking around in her pj's in front of Hot Pants.
Julie "Tippy Toppy" Hutter: For sitting on and lying down on the bar the first night in the lodge. Some say it was just a really bad Madonna impression. For speaking in what was guessed to be Swahili for the last two hours on that first night. Her heartfelt conversation with Ken Jackson might as well have been with the wall as Ken didn't understand one word she said. For repeating her performance on a few other nights.
Rob Hutter: For driving himself and Kristy to the wrong golf course on Monday morning
Jeannine Birschbach: For not honoring her signed contract to ride the Patriot; for using "because my mommy said 'no" as her excuse.
Jim Laasch: For not being able to find his favorite fishing spot after thirty-plus years on the lake.
John Durante: Losing his balance on the lodge bar stool while under the influence and using Julie Berry's hair to steady himself. Julie's hair transplant has been scheduled.
Sean "Pee Pants" Ryan: Losing his way to the cottage bathroom AGAIN! Luckily Katie caught him before serious damage was done. At least he peed on his own shorts!
This year, two rounds of voting took place. One for the dice and one for Mary. Each vacationer was allowed one vote for each round. Nicely done, John. While there were many nominees, it was still a landslide for only two, the winners were...
For the third consecutive year a Durante took home Mary, Bean Durante took Mary home to Bartlett, IL, and the dice went back to Pewaukee, WI with Kristy Gusse.
Congratulations Bean and runner up Kristy Gusse!!