The Old Man On The Mountain

A View From the Backwoods of NH

It’s Too Late

This story begins in the mountains of Massanutten, VA., where the family and I spent a summer vacation one year. This place really WAS appropriately named because, while it may have been a premier resort in the winter, in the summer it truly was a “mass o’ nutttin”. With three kids in tow, and being guests of my in-laws (they’d all bought timeshares) I suppose I should have been more grateful, but cheesy mini-golf and a community pool doesn’t entertain for very long, and the “nightclub” was a byob (from the town, down the mountain about an hour’s round trip) that was packed with every early-twenties kid in the place.

But that’s not what my story’s about. Mine is about timing, knowing who you are, and the miracle of nature. You see, our condo faced the woods – no, not the “windows” side, as you’d expect, but rather the entry way and the parking area. But, there were supposedly a large herd of deer that regularly grazed the area. And since we were with and surrounded by “city folk”, all eyes were constantly checking – just in case.

Well wouldn’t you know it – we were there during the longest drought in 20 years, so most local activities on the river (which was the ONLY attraction – boating and tubing) were closed, and no deer. So, we were pretty much left to the pool, mini-golf and the local town – one eatery that looked “safe” and everything else that looked “old”. It really was a one-horse town, and I was sure the horse had died long ago (probably of boredom) By the 4th day, we decided we’d go to the eatery, then take in some mini-golf before heading back to socialize with the in-laws (our evening ritual).

Well, the food was surprisingly good – I do love southern cooking, and we headed back to mini-golf, which also was surprisingly empty. But by the 9th hole, the wife looked like she was in a little distress. When I asked what was wrong, she said she needed to go – something wasn’t sitting right. The kids wanted to keep playing, so I told her she could catch up after – the 14th hole was close to the facilities. But she decided she’d just play out the 18 and go when we finished. Well, that didn’t work, and by the 14th hole she decided to run back – except they’d closed the place (probably to keep the deer from using the facilities). Now she was in real trouble and hollering to me to round up the kids as we made a mad dash for the van – when she inexplicably stopped halfway there. I said “why’d you stop?” and, without turning around, she said “it’s too late.” That’s when I saw it, her nice white pants turning a dark shade of brown that began to streak down the leg.

Well, the kids thought this was a riot, as did I (since it wasn’t happening to me) but I couldn’t laugh, and I had all I could do to keep the kids quiet. We got to the van, where she stripped off her pants, put them in a plastic shopping bag and sat on another. I gave her my tee shirt to drape over the front, and off we went back to the condo. Luckily for us it was a short run from parking to the door – unluckily for her, the deer had picked this time to show up, and EVERYBODY was out to look at the deer, who decided to congregate right in front of our door. So, as she sat and pretended to watch the deer, with my shirt in her lap and everyone crowding around to watch the deer, I went inside and I got her something to wear. We had to back out and go down the road – it was almost like lining up for a parade in that parking lot – so she could change.

Well, I’d be lying if I didn’t say that that story almost made the trip worthwhile. And it did bring a lot of smiles and laughs to most of my family on more than one occasion – and a whole new meaning to the phrases “it’s too late”, and “chocolate mousse” (how my 9 year old son described it).