Thursday, August 7, 2008

Sticky situation

When I was growing up, my family built a cabin at Bear Lake. Pretty much every weekend for an entire summer, we went up there and worked on the cabin. By the time it was finished, my brothers and I knew our way around the place pretty well, including how to "borrow" golf carts from the nearby golf course, and that by walking onto the second tee, we could play 8/9ths of a round of golf for free.

As often as we were given a break from cutting, placing, and nailing logs for the cabin (in hindsight, it seems odd that these tasks were given to 10, 11, and 14 year old boys, but they were), we would go find some diversion. When this did not involve mischief at the golf course, we would usually walk the mile or so down the hill to the lake.

On one such occasion, two of my brothers and I were walking back from the lake. As we were walking up the hill, one of my brothers dropped back a bit. This in no way raised suspicion at the time, but in light of recent revelations, should have been cause for concern. Literally the moment we got back to the cabin, our dad told us it was time to pile in the car and head back home.

So we all jumped in the big family wagon. I don't think that all nine seats were full, as my older sisters were usually busy with important teenager stuff and thus did not participate in the weekly trips to Bear Lake. This meant that only one person had to sit in the "way back," in the rear-facing bench seat of the wagon. The brother who had fallen behind on the walk up the hill took this spot, and the rest of us were glad to let him have it.

As we made our way home, from time to time a noxious smell would emanate from the rear of the car. This was followed by the whodunnit accusations and arguments, with blame falling nearly every time on the lone occupant of the rear of the vehicle. Once again, nothing atypical that would be any cause for concern--just a typical three-hour family drive. Perhaps more smelly and more frequent than normal, but he was somewhat notorious in our family, so we thought nothing of it.

It's now been roughly 20 years since that trip home from Bear Lake, and just this last week certain heretofore unknown details were brought to my attention. You see, said brother came to visit us this week, and one evening we got talking and reminiscing. As it happens, the reason he dropped back on the walk up the hill was that he was in an urgent way and for all our knowledge of the area was left with nowhere to go or hide. And well, on the way up the hill, he sort of made a mess of himself. Then, when we got back to the cabin, he was informed it was time to go. And with my dad, when it's time to leave, it's time to leave. No arguing or lallygagging allowed. So he and his mess jumped in the car and made the long ride home. And the rest of us thought it was just gas.