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Week 4: Does A Bear Poop In The Woods
January 10, 2011
Today started unlike any other Sunday. We woke up in the woods, stiff from the hard ground and foggy as to how we ended up there. Surrounding us was a mess of filthy clothes, bed linens, a flat lizard with a bit of guts hanging out (Ryan must have accidently slept on him), a bottle of ibuprofen, empty water bottles and most importantly–each other’s puzzled faces. We knew how we ended up there—we hiked 9 miles through the Myakka River State Park because the “wilderness” was calling. We just weren’t sure how we made it to the tent. The last footage found on my digital camera is a video of Ryan and I dancing around the campfire, using flashlights as strobes and singing Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros. Lesson Learned: Never drink straight sweet tea vodka in a state of dehydration after a 9 mile hike.
Having pooped in the woods and with a 9 mile “return to civilization” hike on the agenda before noon, I knew whatever the day would hold would be better than the present. We packed up “camp” and with half of a water bottle left, we trekked 9 miles back to the car. We weren’t starving, but we were definitely in the mood for real food after eating an entire 8-pack of fire charred hot dogs in the past 24 hours. Our early morning appetizers were ibuprofen, leftover smores, an apple and an orange. Believe it or not, without the weight of food on the way home, we made it back in just over 3 hours! Ahhhh, finally, cell phone service, a car, and a sweaty hug—WE MADE IT! WHERE DO WE GO!?!?
According to Google, the closest restaurant is 15 miles away in Myakka City. Suzie Q’s, here we come. We passed numerous farms with hundreds of cows on the way there. Dairy Cows, Bulls, Baby Cows… “Oh the babies are so cute, I want to get out and hug one.” This may have been the most erroneous and false statement I’ve ever made. In actuality I was imagining myself or Ryan grabbing the knife from the trunk and slaying our own delicious steak. We are, after all, one with the wilderness now. We arrived at Suzie Q’s only to realize that it was closed. We weren’t thinking straight. Had we taken one minute to think about where we were, we would have known nothing would be open on a Sunday. People are busy praying. And now I’m praying, for real food within the next 15 miles.
Bingo. There is an open “Woody’s BBQ” within 10 miles and at this point we are speeding. I can’t even look at the cows anymore because between my growling stomach and lack of love for animals, all I can see is meat.
We did finally make it though. Woody’s is in a small strip mall and the only other thing I remember seeing is a gas station (because on the way home we purchased Flamingo Bingo lottery tickets). We attempted running in but our legs were too sore from the hike. Picnic tables everywhere and ugly wait staff. I like it already.
Our waiter has a fohawk and girl’s earrings. He is covered in stars from his wrist all the way up his arm and probably to his shoulder except I don’t want to imagine him without his shirt on. In no way, shape, or form did his stars resemble the comfort of a beautiful night sky. My mind begins to wander–how well does his unique look go over in a small town like this—is he accepted here? Do his customers tip him well?
Ryan goes to the bathroom, leaving me alone with nothing to look at but the table in front of me. I try not to stare but I can’t help it. A woman is with two teenage boys and I’m not sure if they are all siblings or she is the mother. She is on her phone talking to “Ma” and trying to explain to her that she “knows better than to open those dang internet ads. It must be one of them computer viruses” … Thank God Ryan is back, we can order and I can stop staring in disbelief. Oh wait, a man has just walked in with a gold money-sign belt and a fat white woman. Ryan literally laughs aloud but I let it go–I’m hungry and luckily I’ve missed the opportunity to see the belt buckle. Otherwise my strident comments might have been heard.
We ordered the WORKS. Fried Squash, Fried Okra, Pulled Pork, Chili Cheese Fries, Regular Fries, Bread, Coleslaw, and approximately 8 rounds of water. Ryan ordered a beer and just the sight of it almost made me faint. So thirsty. While we were waiting for the food to come out, Ryan passed a note across the table asking if a bear poops in the woods. Well Ryan I’d assume so seeing as even I did just 4 hours ago. Intrigued by “Woody’s Crayons” and the romantic napkin note, I replied, “yes”… along with a squirt of bbq sauce because there were no brown crayons.
We couldn’t be more pleased with the meal (i stress the meal, not condiments). Everything was absolutely delicious—especially the fried squash which I had never tried before. Our server was extremely nice; I managed to look beyond his starry canvas and into the depth of his irreplaceable talent—refilling water. Their BBQ sauce could use some work—none of the flavors were fantastic. It really didn’t matter though; the food itself was very tasty. I would love to go back someday but I don’t think it’s going to happen. I can’t see us venturing through these woods again. But, should we ever have to, I think we’ll stop at Woody’s!