On Saturday, July 29th, we packed up at Canadian Lakes to move on to the annual vacation in Caseville for Laura’s mom’s side of the family. There we would meet up with Laura’s sister, Gayle, who McKenna and her cousins all agreed was the best aunt out of all of the possible aunts.
In Caseville, we found that there were several ranges similar to the range of fun (and unfun) aunts. On the last night that we were in Caseville, a whole lot of wine was consumed, and the next day, this conversation occurred between Laura and her mother:
Laura: “Was I the only one who was drunk?”
Rita: “No, there were definitely others.”
Laura: “So other people were as bad as me?”
Rita: “Well, there was a spectrum, and you were at the end of the spectrum.”
Apparently, Laura was at the far end of Caseville’s…
As with all spectrums, the Spectrum of Drunkenness encompasses a range, in this case going from the sobriety of “Grandma regulating lake fun” to the buzz of “Drinking margaritas at sunset” to “Passed out on an empty beach” levels of debauchery. This particular spectrum was always a part of Caseville life, but it became more important to consult the spectrum this year due to a new vacation practice: cocktail hour.
As the organizer of the vacation, Laura’s Aunt Anne decided that every evening (and on some of the mornings), a different person would make a cocktail for the group. Needless to say, the addition of cocktail hour was a success and a high bar was set for future cocktail hours by the drinks offered over the first three days of the vacation – first Cosmos, then Irish Mules, and later Margaritas, among others. That bar that was nevertheless completely demolished by the wine tasting held Wednesday by Alex and Liz.
Once we picked out our custom glasses, we were given a chart with which to rate the wines we would be sampling.
The pours at the tasting were generous, and second pours were provided to people who liked a particular wine.
The tasting was a huge hit, and it was only after standing up after sitting to taste wine that people realized they had knocked out the equivalent of a bottle or more of wine in around 45 minutes. It was time to consult the SPECTRUM OF DRUNKENNESS.
The “Snap” is definitely over the halfway point on the spectrum.
Still, the night was young, and several impromptu dance parties had yet to break out. We were building to the culminating dance party, which is where:
- One of the dancers spun five-year-old Julia around like a windmill, perpendicular to the ground.
- John had to escort several people back to their cabins for safety.
- Laura loudly announced that she could not be escorted back to our cabin because she didn’t want to be known as “the teacher, Mrs. Abbott, who had to be walked home.” She was then walked home.
Of course, it wasn’t all about drunkenness in Caseville. There was also some wholesome – more or less – fun.
Here, the range of fun spans from “Relay Races” on the extreme fun end of the spectrum to “Paddling on a Lake Using Squirt Guns,” which is only medium fun, to “Imperious Calls for Silence” on the not-at-all-fun end. Before we proceed with the fun ratings, this is a heads up that some of the events on the Fun Spectrum may cause you to ask, “Hey, shouldn’t that be on the Spectrum of Drunkenness?” Oddly enough, NO. Most of the activities below were at least conceived by sober people, and many were both conceptualized and enacted by people who were stone-cold sober.
For instance, here we have the 2019 Caseville Olympics, featuring four teams and a variety of events.
Each of the teams was led by one of the children, who as team captain chose a name and cheer.
Clearly, then, on a fun spectrum, this would be here:
Not everything related to the Caseville Olympics would fall on that side of the spectrum, though. The Olympic scoring system relied on children, who were unreliable at best, to report the scores of their teams. These children were sometimes confused about the score (or chose to willfully misrepresent the score for competitive purposes), and they were interacting with Anne as scorekeeper, the person least likely to tolerate poor score reporting from the children.
In addition, the Olympic Committee co-opted multiple cocktail hours for detailed planning sessions complete with rewrites of drafts of plans.
As it turns out, actually pooping the potato is significantly more fun than holding lengthy discussions about how, where, and in what order the potato should be pooped.
A more traditional Caseville activity than the Olympics is the playing of card or board games in the evening. We played a couple of highly entertaining sessions of Taboo, which is a game where one player tries to get their teammates to guess a term or person without using any of the clues on the card. At times, however, a generational gap degraded gameplay. McKinley, who is 19, was trying to get her team to guess “a really famous pop star – she was probably the most famous when you were younger.”
Since half of McKinley’s team was made up of people who, like me, are in their forties, the answer seemed to be a slam dunk: Madonna.
“NO!”, McKinley responded. “A woman star from YOUR generation!”
I was totally baffled, as were my teammates. Which female pop star during the time when we were growing up was more popular than Madonna? Which star came slightly before Madonna? Blondie? Stevie Nicks? Finally, time ran out, and McKinley announced the answer: Barbra Streisand, whose heyday came when I was five.
Overall, Taboo scores well on the Spectrum of Fun…
Although being mistaken for someone of Streisand’s generation, when Streisand was born during the Second World War, slightly downgraded the experience.
The kids preferred to play the game Werewolf, which is a lot like the game Mafia: the good guys (the “villagers” in this case) have to figure out who the bad guys are (the “werewolves”) before the bad guys wipe out the village. It is a game that can be played with nuanced social cues and strategy, which is more or less the opposite of the approach the kids took to the game.
The game involves having the “village” go to sleep. The werewolves then “wake up” and kill one of the villagers.
During the “day,” the players can try to hunt down the werewolves, and if they suspect that someone is a werewolf, they can accuse them, try to persuade the other villagers that their suspicions are correct, and, with a majority vote, “lynch” that person. Strategy dictates that villagers use care before lynching someone, because if a villager is accidentally lynched, the werewolves are one step closer to winning. The children threw caution to the wind, arbitrarily accusing others of being a werewolf in a full-on Lord of the Flies approach. One of the kids, for instance, might casually suggest that, say, Drew is a werewolf. This would immediately trigger the mob mentality in the other children, most of whom would then began chanting things like “Lynch him! Lynch him!” while Drew’s baby sister Julia shouted, “Drew is the werewolf! Kill him!”
Naturally, we found this so entertaining that we played Werewolf on several evenings. Still, the game gave me a sense of foreboding that I might wake one night to find a vicious mob of murderous children surrounding me armed with sharpened s’mores sticks, which downgraded the Werewolf experience on the Spectrum of Fun.
Another part of the Caseville vacation that scores well on the fun spectrum is hanging out on the beach.
McKinley and her friend Blaine both cheer for Virginia Tech, and, with their help, an impromptu cheering session broke out in the water.
Fun spectrum rating:
The fun rating of the cheering sessions could take a hit if the base for the cheering stunt experienced “third wheel” syndrome.
Back on the beach, we found that there were some appropriate and inappropriate ways to have fun in the sand. Kids digging holes in the sand and building sandcastles is both fun and appropriate.
This, on the other hand…
Yes, transporting and burying the giant, dead catfish that washed up on the beach in the hole that the kids dug will cost you some position on the fun spectrum. As will exceeding the recommended safe allowance of floats to transport at one time.
In the evening, the beach was perfect for watching the sun set on Lake Huron.
The good weather and cool clouds, combined with our integration of cocktail hour drinks into the experience, definitely bumped this up on the fun spectrum.
The fun of this event, however, could be undermined by poor decision-making.
Finally, no lake vacation Spectrum of Fun would be complete without boating. Midway through the week, many of us went on a kayaking excursion on the Pinnebog River.
For McKenna, the level of fun was taken up several notches due to the fact that we steered clear of the snake-infested weeds.
Although it was a windy day, the river was pretty shielded from the wind by trees, making it fairly easy to paddle both up and down stream. It had been a cool morning, starting in the 50’s, but by the time of our kayaking trip, it was comfortably warm. Most importantly, the kayaks had excellent back support.
We kayaked to a beach on Lake Huron, which was awesome because we got the lake experience without actually having to kayak in the very windy and wavy lake.
So for our final Spectrum of Fun: