Happy Spring! Everyone, such is the standard greeting at my aunt and uncle's annual spring party. I just got back from a weekend of driving through North Carolina, to amongst other things attend the aforementioned party and it was quite a weekend. First off let me tell you what we did. On friday John, the other Scott, Mike and I set out from Knoxville to go drop camping in the Smokies. This was less because we really wanted to go camping, than we didn't want to have to get up early to make it to Charlotte in time for the spring party. But it turns out camping was a good idea regardless because it meant that our friend John, who along with his wife Andrea are expecting the arrival of their first born (a son) in early July, could come with us. Unfortunantly John couldn't join us of the remainder of our trip, but we had a great boys night out nonetheless. From our campsite we moved on to Charlotte and my aunt and uncle's house where we met our friend Tim who'd come down from Raliegh to join us, and with whom once the part was do we'd drive back up to Raliegh.
So now you know the general layout, well then let's start with the camping trip. As you might have guessed our drop camping was hardly as display of great outdoorsmanship or back country know-how; instead it was four guys split between a minivan and a sedan with a propane grill and a cooler full of food and beer. Now you might think that with two cars parking in a drive in campsite we would have brought all the comforts of home, but since I organized the trip we were still thorougly unprepared. To start out with I forgot my coat and gloves, then we realized I'd forgotten a ground cloth, and finally it came out that while I had expected at least one of the other guys to bring a tent, they were all planning on sleeping in my twenty-five year old REI. Also, we got there about dusk so we didn't have any (natural) light to gather fire wood by. Fortunatly none of this made much difference, I had it turns out I brought enough layers that I didn't need a coat, John had a ground cloth in his trunk, and we found both a guy to buy firewood from, and even more wood by flashlight. And finally my tent would have been big, enough albeit cramped, but when the other Scott offered to sleep in my van we had more than enough room. And in spite of my lack of (recent) camping experince I'm pretty good with a grill, and we also had a couple old boy scouts along. So our turkey burgers tuned out fine, and out fire burned long into the night. The fire especially turned out to be a godsend, because when we first arrived at the campground we were greeted by a car alarm, some overflying jets, and a neighbor who decided to use their headlights to illuminate their campsite. All of which combined to make us wonder why we hadn't simply stopped in a cheap motel. Yet by ten or eleven at night almost everyone else had gone to bed, and were left with the light and warmth of our fire and the sound of a nearby stream. Sitting up late at night around a fire in the woods passing a flask and joking with one another what could be a better male bonding experince than that? Alas in the morning John had to go back to Knoxville, and we had to get ready for the drive to Charlotte.
Our drive to Charlotte wasn't particularly long, but on it we did realize that we'd have to find a way to go from how we'd awoken that morning at the campsite (not pretty) to being presentable enough for my aunt and uncle's party. What this ultimatly meant was that Scott and I ended up brushing our teeth in a Burger King bathroom, and Mike changed cloths while we were driving. I think the result turned out just fine, but you can judge for yourself from the pictures. Any way lets explain the party. In short it is, as the invitation says, "Champagne, Croquet and covered dishes" so about two hundred or so of my aunt and uncle's closest friends, family and neighbors drop by, most bringing food. This means a big party with a large and dynamic buffet and thanks to the hosts a copious supply of champagne.
I know, I know what a nice setting for a party, but what happened? Well first off Tim and Mike took way to many pictures of each other with Matt's (that's Mike's roommate) digital camera. But that can be forgiven, most importantly I and my friends got to hang out with my cousins, a couple of aunts and uncles, several relatives I haven't seen in years and a whole bunch of other cool people. That's right my family is cool. I love all my family, but with my mother and father it is considerably harder to cut loose than with more distant and liberal relatives. So a few highlights then, making a beer run for my underage cousins, playing croquet with my aunt's sister, and finally watching her vomit all over herself and be carried out unconcious, oh, yeah.
After the party I was in no shape to drive, but fortunantly per my aunt and uncle's instructions Tim and Mike were graciously our DDs, and ferried us to Raliegh in comfort and saftey. By the time we'd gotten there all of us were thoroughly sober and ready for more. I have to say this trip to Raliegh was for me more than a mere social visit, because in spite of the fact that Tim has lived there for over four years I had not once made it to see him, so not only did I know nothing of Tim's home for the past four years, but I also hadn't ever met his girlfriend Katie. Now normally I wouldn't care too much about not meeting a girlfriend, but when my friend has been dating her for over two years, and they've lived together for a while it seems like I should have at least met her. So our tour through NCSU's campus and evening sitting in Mitch's chatting was more than welcome. Then on sunday we woke up and had a large relaxing bruch, followed by an afternoon drinking North Carolina wine and eating cheese. Eventually we realized that we had to drive six hours back to Knoxville and said farewell. I won't bore you with the drive back, but as I said before all in all it was quite a weekend.
Sorry that was so long, but I hope you enjoyed it.