M. Giant's
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Tuesday, September 22, 2009  

A Pig in a Poke

Oh, I forgot to tell you what we did after we got home from South Dakota. We took Trash to the doctor, hung out with my parents and Debitch the Younger (in from the East Coast), did some work, went to bed, and then left the next morning to camp in Wisconsin with Trash's brother, his wife, and their daughter, my niece Deniece (now seven[!]). It wasn't so much a homecoming as a twenty-hour layover at our house.

So anyway, in addition to being mind-bendingly beautiful, the spot where we camped had the additional benefit of being five minutes from a perfectly functional town, complete with a supermarket. It also has what appears to be an annual community festival, and we just happened to be there on the weekend it was occurring. We arrived early Friday afternoon on the eleventh. I could hardly believe our luck when I saw the signs saying that the festival was happening on the twelfth. But even that wasn't the good part. The good part was the name of the festival:

Pork N' the Park.

Note the "N'." I think it's short for "and," although at first I thought it was short for "in." It was hard to be sure what it was about. Was this a gathering at the park for people to eat pork? Or was this little town inviting its citizens to literally come and pork in the park? Either way, I saw no downside.

Over the next 24 hours, Pork N' the Park was built up in my mind until the reality could never live up to the hype. Hype which I myself had generated, but still. I began to convince myself that "Pork N' the Park" was actually an imperative. Kind of like the sign we'd seen in Custer State Park for a place called "Camp Bob Marshall." Every time we passed it, we felt bad for anyone named Bob Marshall who happened to be driving by. "Really? Do I have to?" Bob Marshall might protest. "But I have hotel reservations in Rapid City and I don't have my tent…I suppose I could sleep under my car. Stupid sign." And God help Bob Marshall if his daily commute took him past that sign. I bet he'd find an alternate route in a hurry. "Yeah, boss, I know I'm late, but trust me, I would have been even later if I'd driven through the Park."

So anyway, the whole next day I was all over Trash to get on her fancy new Web-enabled phone and find out when Pork N' the Park officially started, because I didn't want to miss a single minute of it. What eventually ended up happening is that BIL, the two kids and I drove in to check it out.

And of course it was a bit of a letdown. I was expecting a pork feast like a Famous Dave's menu, but the only two meal options were 1) pork sandwich and 2) pork sandwich with a drink. 2) being more expensive than if you bought the pork sandwich and the drink separately. It was a decent sandwich. The local band up onstage seemed to have equal facility with the Stones, "Silver Threads and Golden Needles," and reading off winning raffle numbers. But the best part was the lawn mower race.

We were just lucky enough to catch the feature, which was scheduled for 2:15 but got pushed back to 2:25 due to a broken chain. At ten laps, the race wasn't too long to be boring, but M. Edium wanted to leave seven laps in (which is a clear sign he's not ready for the real speedway yet). The kids played at the park for a little while, and then we all went back to the campsite and I figured that was the end of it.

Except much later that evening, when the kids were conked out in their sleeping bags and the adults were gathered around the campfire, we could hear music drifting to us across the water, loud but distant. At first we thought it was some rude campers, disregarding campground etiquette now that it was after Labor Day and the park rangers had apparently made a Fred Flintstone exit from the premises for the season. It wasn't until we went to bed that I was able to really focus on the music. That's when I realized I was hearing the worst version of "Love Shack" ever.

Pork N' the Park was still going strong, apparently, even if the competent band we'd heard in the afternoon had been replaced by a weak 80s band. Or maybe it was the same band, after hours of nonstop rocking, beer, and pork sandwiches had rendered them shitty. I heard them struggle through a few more songs that it took me longer than usual to recognize before I dropped off, very glad I was tired.

Now this was a letdown that lasted all day. Although it did meet expectations in one sense: I felt totally porked.

posted by M. Giant 9:53 PM 0 comments


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