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Wayne and Evelyn

Sun, 30 Jul 2023, 08:49 AM (-06:00) Creative Commons License

Here is a snippet from the second day of my drive from Michigan to Austin. 

Today’s drive was mostly in Illinois but ended in eastern Missouri’s Mark Twain National Forest. Wayne and Evelyn were the camp hosts at the Silver Mines Recreation Area and were sitting around a campfire when I arrived in the early evening. Here are three stories about them. 

1. Being Brave

Life as a camp host in the middle of wilderness must be … an adventure. Wayne and Evelyn talked about dealing with freeloaders camping without paying, about blaring music, about people dragging fallen tree trunks out of the forest to burn, about bonfires with flames leaping into the air and bags of household trash thrown on top. The two of them are clearly patient. And very brave. 

“We’ve had to call the county sheriff three times so far this year,” the said. 

I was puzzled. “How do you call? I have no cell signal.”

“They got us a land line!” they said, pointing to the shed.

Good thing.

2. Cowboy Coffee

Getting on the road by 8:00am was key to success on this trip. Before I left Silver Mines, I came over to say goodbye to Wayne and Evelyn who were already sitting beside their fire.

“Wow,” I said, pointing at a coffee pot sitting on the grate over their fire pit. “That is huge!” The old-fashioned metal pot must have held two gallons.

The two of them like their coffee cowboy-style. They took turns explaining their process — how they grind beans every morning, boil the coffee, and then use cold water to get the grounds to settle.

“It’s the smoothest coffee you’ve ever tasted,” Evelyn said, tapping her cup and smiling.

3. Photography in Palestine

“If you drive thru Palestine on your way home, stop in at the Gallery at the Redlands,” Wayne said. “I have some photographs on display there.” (I later found out that he also sells them online.) 

I was originally going to drive that way, but my plans changed. But when I got home, I called the gallery and left a message. A few minutes later, David called me back. I explained how I had been camping in Missouri.

“Do you know Wayne?” I asked.

“Yes!” David said. “He and I went to school together from second grade thru high school.” 

“And what about Evelyn?” 

“Oh yes,” he said with a chuckle. “She and I knew each other in fourth grade. Can I tell them I spoke to you?”

“Of course,” I said. “But they might remember me as Charlie.” 

The “Charlie thing” is another story, but I promised to stop at three. 

© jumpingfish by David Hasan is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License