Weekend 2001

June 14-16, 2001


By Tim O'Rourke

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The eighth annual Father's Day Weekend at Button Bay State Park in Panton started out hot and dry. On Friday when the first fathers and their families started arriving, the temperature was nearing the 100 F mark with high humidity. Thank God for the pool, which provided relief from the hottest day that any of the participants could remember in the history of our get-togethers. By Friday evening the families represented included the Bishops the Priors, Prescotts, Ketchams, Nealys, Giffords and O'Rourkes. Shane Bowley stopped by to scout out a spot and would return on Saturday with the rest of his family (Mary , Sarah and Peter) plus one. Roger was solo Friday night but would return Saturday after a soccer game in Middlebury with son Tyler. Roy Bishop came with both daughters this year (a first for Haley) and Helen would arrive on Saturday due to a graduation at her school in So. Hero on Friday night. Kristin and Dave made dinner Friday night of chicken and steak on the grill which was very well received but missed by several of the late arrivals (Having Kristin Prior in charge of the kick-off meal should be good incentive for early arrivals from now on)! This was the first year of families being in charge of specific meals and it seems to make both planning and packing easier!

On Saturday Kathy and Tim O'Rourke made a breakfast of blueberry pancakes and sausage and the skies were mostly blue and cloudless without a hint of the impending doom to come. David Prior gave rides around the bay on his newly purchased 1947 Gar-wood, inboard, speedboat. As usual the kids were on their own, swimming, biking, fishing and generally having the run of the place. The humidity was slightly less then on Friday but Da-vid's flea market turned mess tent provided much needed shade, while the steady breezes off the lake contributed to relief from the heat of the day. The Nealy's provided an ample lunch of sandwiches and a delicious peanutbutter noodle casserole, an exotic treat, which I am told is a great delicacy in some cultures. As the dinner hour approached the skies became more threatening. An Osprey glided effortlessly in the breeze, fishing within view of our lakeside sites. The Giffords served spaghetti for dinner, enough for a small army, and Bob, with help from Shane cleaned up in record time

With hours of daylight remaining, bellies full and people gathering for conversation and singing around the campfire the rain began. At first the optimistic among us figured it would pass quickly, but then came the downpour, which grew in intensity and remained steady and furious. Under the mess tent, the gameboards came out while others holed up in tents and vans. When the thunder and lightning started and it got dark, our hope for a pleasant night around the campfire finally dissipated. When the wind picked up the Bishops had to chase down their tent and tether it to their truck, Marianne Nealy dashed for cover in a nearby car when a clap of lightning came intimidatingly close. The Ketchams finally had to abandon their site 52 altogether and went home when the water table rose and drenched their stuff. It let up only slightly during the night, but all the remaining campers were able to stay and in the morning the Bishops made a hearty breakfast of bacon and eggs, despite the flood that came only inches from their tent. Besides the Ketchams who had to retreat in the night, the Nealys Coleman tent seemed the least resistant to the downpour. Jon was hopefully only joking on Sunday morning when he said that he would "never go camping again"! By 11:00AM most of the wet stuff was packed in our vehicles, except of course for the Giffords who stayed high and dry in their pop-up camper. A photo of those who stayed and used the pool or walked the nature trail after breaking camp was taken in the picnic area. Until next time!

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