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patterns of ink

How fruitless to be ever thinking yet never embrace a thought... to have the power to believe and believe it's all for naught. I, too, have reckoned time and truth (content to wonder if not think) in metaphors and meaning and endless patterns of ink. Perhaps a few may find their way to the world where others live, sharing not just thoughts I've gathered but those I wish to give. Tom Kapanka

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Hello. My Name is Tom Kapanka

For six years, I've been writing here at Patterns of Ink anonymously. I've had many reasons for thinking that was best, but in the previous post, I said "consider this my Facebook for now," and I can't really do that without a name.

I have another reason for disclosing my full name after all these years. This morning my younger brother Jim sent me a Youtube link from my cousin Jack who is a country singer. Back in Chapter Six of the "Unsettled" story, I told of the time my father was confronted about building the barn without a building permit. That story ended with the inspector declaring the barn a work of art. Years later, around 1993, when my cousin Jack [AKA "One-eyed Jack"] was visiting my parents, sitting there in the house we had built in those settling years, Dad told him the story, and like a true lyricist, when Jack heard the inspector's line "This isn't a barn it's a work of art," he said, "Now there's a song!" He took some liberties and made the statement apply to the house we had built at the end of that winding driveway. It was recorded for his second CD many years later. [Other songs can be heard on his Youtube channel.]

The house and land sold last week. The sign was up for just four days. Lots of interest. On the second day, the buyers went through the house and barn twice. They rightly discerned that this was a rare find, a one-of-a-kind place in the area that defied "comps" and the trends in the market, and they wisely made an offer above the list price to send a strong message to the other interested parties from the four-day traffic at the home they knew they wanted. They are a nice family. We are honored that they saw the value of this very special place and that they have invited us to walk its familiar paths whenever we wish. We will not abuse their courtesy, but the invitation brings a sort of peace to this sale. I live on the other side of the state, but someday I will meet them.

They don't know this yet, but as promised, a draft of my "Unsettled" story [which I may re-title as either "The Settling Years" or "Settling Home" or who knows what?] will be on one of the library shelves of Mom's phone nook when they move in. If I don't get it there in time, I'll deliver it in person to the front porch door someday. Perhaps they may also enjoy listening to this song that was written about the house they will now be calling home.


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It Started with a Jingle

In the post above I mentioned my cousin Jack is a country singer and song writer. It all started with this jingle for Picway Shoe Stores.

Consider This My Facebook For Now

Sometimes I can’t find things I’ve written. Two years ago one of our faculty retired after teaching kindergarten in our school for 29 years. I wrote a poem to give her at that time, and she put it in a scrap book. She moved to Iowa to live with her sister, and this past June she passed away unexpectedly. I was asked to provide some thoughts to share at her funeral. I could not find the poem anywhere—not a hard copy, not a draft on any of the three computers where I may have written it (and I could not remember which computer I had used to do that). I never did find it, but a copy of it is in Judy’s scrapbook of notes from friends now treasured by her sister no doubt.

I’ve lost other things, too. The nice thing about my Patterns of Ink blog, is I’ve been writing here for six years now. Some months more than others as one can tell by the archives. Occasionally, I have reason to find an old post or poem that I know is in here somewhere, and I’ll begin searching through the archives. I begin talking to myself as I do, “Seems like I wrote that in March, but was it March last year. Nope not there. How ‘bout March of 2008?” Then I’ll find it March of 2007 and say, “Oh, my! Has it been three years since I wrote that?” and a strange sense of lost time sweeps over me.

A trick I sometimes forget to use is a Google search. How strange is that? That I can type the three words "Patterns of Ink" followed by a post title, and to my amazement the link appears, sifted out from billions of internet links afloat in cyberspace like dust specks in the sunbeam of my childhood bedroom after jumping on the bed. Powerful stuff we’re playing with here on this thing we call the web.

The thing I notice when I dig in the archives is that the social aspect of the comment section was once a major part of the process. That aspect has vanished. This is due to many changes: For years, blogging was a two-way process for me. I wrote here but I read at other blogs and left comments at other sites. Those readers would in turn read here and comment. Some of you may be reading now, and I apologize that my blog “visits” have dwindled in this past year. I truly miss the interaction and my writing misses the dimension of being honed by your input.

But the truth is, during the peak of this site’s active months (years?), I spent too much time in that alternate world—now maybe not enough. I was working through some grief by way of writing. The “Duncan Phyfe” chapters I wrote based on phone calls to my mother in her last year of a fight with cancer. The “Unsettled” chapters I wrote in the aftermath of her death. Writing helped me immeasurably, and the support of readers I do not even know in real life was an added blessing.

I’m a grandpa now, and my second daughter is engaged, and my third daughter is very active in school, etc. etc. etc. It seems harder and harder for me to stay up late at night or rise in the wee small hours of the morning and write as I am doing now.

The other thing that I think has changed the social aspect of blogging is Facebook. I know many of you are now much more active in Facebook than you are in your neglected blogs. This is commendable, I suppose. Facebook, afterall, is current—ever changing, ever growing, ever connecting, ever posting the present for all to see. I have not yet jumped on the Facebook bandwagon—for two reasons:

Time. I’ve been caught up in similar thing in the blogosphere, and I now watch my friends and family spend hours in an alternate world discovering more things about more “friends” than humans were ever intended to know. I know I would get caught up in it just as deeply. Sure, I would love to connect with old friends, and if I ever do join Facebook, it will be for that reason.

But this brings up the other reason I am hesitant to dive face-first into Facebook. The term “friend” is used like some sort of social score. How many friends do you have? How many friends can you truly keep up with? How many shirt-tale, score card “friends” do you want in your family and personal business? Maybe I’m wrong, but ask yourself this question if you are in the Facebook world. Have you heard this exchange yet? “So and so asked to be my friend. I don’t think I want to be their friend.” Or “I’m going to drop them from my friend list.” I could be wrong, but it seems like a middle school nightmare. It seems like a Charlie Brown Valentine’s Day, and I’m just not ready for it yet.

So for now, I’ll just stick with my old-school brown-paper-bag blog. I’ll try to post at least once a week. If I start another writing project, it will probably unfold here, but this is a year, I have promised myself and my family to focus more in the present, and as my family has been saying for years… “Take the leap, Dad. Pick some stuff, tweak it and proof it, and try to get it published. So I will be doing that… I think… and no doubt it will really start feeling like a Charlie Brown Valentine’s Day, as I begin to collect rejection letters, but I think it will be healthy process that will result in better balance of my time and clearer focus of my future pastime priorities.

Any advice is welcome.

Here is what a friend sent me:

SLOW DOWN! Robert Putnam ("Bowling Alone") alerted us to the growing trend of "friendlessness" in America. Though the average Facebook-er has 130 "friends," most Americans have no one with whom he or she can share soul-revealing joys and fears. Friendship takes time. So we must choose to break the chains of "conspicuous busyness" that promises status but delivers loneliness.
Wilson Quarterly: America: Land of Loners? by Daniel Akst


Americans, plugged in and on the move, are confiding in their pets, their computers, and their spouses. What they need is to rediscover the value of friendship.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Magnificent News From Chicago Lakeshore

I'm writing from the hotel (now owned by a motel chain) that has become our home away from home whenever we visit our daughter Kim near Chicago's "Magnificent Mile."

Come back later and this post will attempt to do justice to an event that happened last night, a well-planned happening that prompted magnificent smiles and even some happy tears. Magnificent guy! Magnificent news!

Like the story that has occupied these posts for months, this news also involves water and rock--a very precious rock on a precious hand. I know what you're thinking: "Tom, if this is what I think it is--what in the world were YOU doing there?" Good question, and the answer is part of why it was such a magnificent event.

No time to write about it now, but I will as time allows.

!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Okay. I'm back. Last night we got home from Chicago, and I have a few minutes to fill in some details on the magnificant news of Nate and Kim's engagement.


Kim is a senior in college. This summer she stayed in Chicago to nanny for a family who attends Latin School, where she works during the school year. Her boyfriend Nate attends the same college and also works in the city.

On August 2nd we were camping on the shore of Lake Michigan (about 90+ nautical miles from the photo above). We were sitting around a campfire when Nate called on my cellphone and asked if he could drive up from Chicago to visit with me about something. He stressed that Kim should not know he was coming up.

The next day, August 3rd, he drove up alone to meet me at the Starbucks in Grand Haven where we had a long talk. Actually, I mostly listened to his well-planned thoughts that culminated in his declaration of love, commitment, and request to marry my daughter. I assured him of my wife's and my permission and blessing, and then we had a long and pleasant talk about related things before joining the rest of my family (except Kim) for dinner at one of our favorite places nearby. It was great, and best of all, we managed to keep it all a secret from Kim (who called more than once while we were together).

About ten days later, Nate called again from Chicago asking if we could come down secretly on Friday to wait for them in Promontory Point Park along Lake Michigan (first photo above). It is a beautiful picnic setting with large limestone fire pits overlooking the lake.

We brought fire wood and all the goodies to enjoy it. Nate's plan was to propose to Kim at another park along the Chicago River where they have had many significant moments in the past, and then to bring her to our location. She of course thought we were home in Michigan so it was a great surprise that went without a hitch.

That second photo is them arriving shortly after six o'clock. After Nate had proposed and given her the beautiful ring. There was one minor glitch. After Kim said "Yes" she of course began calling family and friends. One of the first calls was to Nate's parents who are missionaries in Guatemala, nearly 2,000 miles away. That call went through fine. We knew Kim would also try to call us (on Julie's cell). That call was going to be my cue to light the fire. Unfortunately, our phones that were only a few miles away had no reception out on the point, so I never got my cue. When I saw them coming down the walkway, I began looking for the lighter. Never did find the lighter, but fortunately there was a nice homeless guy just down the lake a ways who had a lighter he was happy to loan me. I got the fire started, and after that the evening went perfectly as Nate had planned.

It was a great evening of celebration with friends (who later joined us for a cook-out). There is much more I could say all of this... about how happy Kim's two sisters are for her... about how happy Julie and I are for them...about how the fun will continue when Nate's mom flies in to visit over Labor Day... about how much we appreciate the way Nate included us from that first phone call while we sat around a campfire on the west shore of Lake Michigan to that second campfire on the east side of the lake...
But the thing we are most happy about is this young couple's commitment to begin thinking of life in terms of their future together; to see the path God has for them as shared; and to honor each other as they begin making the plans to walk that path together.

Of course, it doesn't hurt at all to see that Nate brings to Kim the very same squinty-eyed smile we have loved since she was a child.
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Thursday, August 05, 2010

"Still Waters" Chapter 13

A half-mile up the road from the riverside waiting park was an unpresuming parsonage owned by a church in town. In it lived a modestly gifted pastor, his wife, and their only daughter, Kara, who was barely sixteen. They had moved to Big Rapids ten months before, in time for the start of the school year.

Kara's mother had a twin sister, and each summer, in the various places they had lived through the years, her Aunt Maggie and her cousin Seth would come up from Kentucky to spend a couple days. In this way, the two cousins had grown up together in snapshots of time through the years, and their perceptions of each other were compressed in time the way scissor-cut school portraits can fit the fleeting years of childhood on the single page of a photo album. They once caculated the number of days they had spent together, and were sad to realize that they had actually shared less than two months of life. Yet if there was a person on earth that Kara considered a brother, it was Seth.
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Seth was eighteen, a year older than most of the seniors in his class that coming fall. He was a strapping young man who played wide receiver on his high school football team, but was of such a build that his coach often used him as a tackle on defense, a fact that Kara proudly mentioned to her friends at school.
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The second day of Seth’s visit was the very Saturday the Sinclair family was tubing on the river. After a morning of uneventful sight seeing with their mothers and a late lunch in town, Seth and Kara sat in the middle seats of a mini-van staring out their windows while the aunts were talking about garage sales until Seth hit Kara’s leg with the back of his hand.
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“What do y’all do for fun ‘round here?” he whispered.

“If it weren’t the weekend, we could go tubing. That’s fun.”

“No, I mean for real fun,” Seth scoffed, “—somethin’ those two won’t want to do.”

“Tubing is fun, but Dad doesn’t let me go on weekends.”

“Why not?”

“I’ll tell you later.”

The gravel made a crunching sound as the tires turned into their driveway. A few minutes later, Seth and Kara had changed into their swimsuits and were laying out on the deck beside the small above-ground pool in the back yard. Kara spritzed water from a bottle onto her legs and arms.

“So why can’t you go tubing on weekends?” Seth asked again.

“Because a bunch of drunk jerks take the whole thing over,” she whispered.

“The whole river?”

“No just a place they call…well, it’s a swear word,” she said.

“What do they call it?” he begged.

“A-Hole Beach, but they don’t say ‘A’, they say the real word. Dad says it’s awful what goes on there. You should see the busses that go by at the end of the day. That’s why we eat supper out here on the back deck on weekends. I’ve seen kids puke out the windows of the bus as it goes by. It’s gross.”

Seth’s eyes widened. This was the very thing he meant when he asked about real fun. Kara had no way of knowing how different their lives had become in recent years, because if there was one girl on the face of the earth that Seth thought of as a sister, it was Kara. And knowing how she was, how her parents were—how her father was, being a preacher and all, Seth was hesitant to show her the side of him that began in high school, the side of him whose snapshots would not be put in their mother’s photo albums.

In spite of his newly professed compulsion for real fun, Seth made Kara feel safe and willing to observe adventure if not partake in it herself, and for that reason as her mother began making supper in the quiet of the afternoon, the cousins told their folks they were taking the truck into town to see some friends and not to worry; they’d be home way before suppertime.

With all the comfort of implicit, unbroken trust, the parents nodded while deep in their conversation, paying little attention to the fact that the two were still in bathing suits and not watching the truck as it backed down the driveway and turned left onto the dead-end gravel road. Town was to the right.

Kara and Seth did not need inner tubes. They just parked the truck in a shady niche beside the bus cul-de-sac, half-sprinted to the river, waded upstream toward the noise, and crossed the current at the river’s sandy bank to the crowded field whose name Kara would not say.

Even Seth had never seen anything quite like the spectacle of flesh that waited beyond the brow, but he could not hide a half smile as he looked at Kara.

“Madame, your father was right,” he said in a Groucho Marx voice, eye brows bouncing, imaginary cigar near his mouth, “This is precisely what preachers mean by ‘hell in a hand-basket.’”

“Let’s go,” Kara whispered loudly in his ear. “It’s past 4:30. Mom serves supper in an hour, and we need to at least drive to town to say we did.”

“That gives us plenty of time.” Seth smiled. “Come on. Just follow me.”

They meandered to the far side of the field. Seth joined in with the gyrations prompted by the various radios, trying his best to fit in and smile at girls that caught his eye. Kara looked down hoping not to see a single face she knew, which she did not. In fact, she was surprised how so many total strangers—most of whom where older than Seth—gathered in one place. The far side of the crowd had three radios set to the same country station. Seth nodded in approval.

“This is more like it,” he said, smiling Kara’s direction, who in spite of her uneasiness could not help but smile back. It was then she realized that he was not smiling at her but at an attractive girl approaching from behind her with a can of beer in each hand.

“Joining the party a little late, aren’t you?” She said, moving her hips in rhythm closer and closer to Seth’s swim suit.

“We’re actually just leaving,” said Kara.

“No, we’re not,” Seth protested, taking one of the beers.

The girl’s eyes remained on Seth’s with a pouty inviting smile as she held the other beer out toward Kara.

“No thanks,” said Kara, “I don’t drink, and like I said, we’re leaving. Look at your watch, Seth. It’s ten to five.”

Kara turned and began walking through the crowd toward the river. Seth took a deep breath, shrugged his shoulders, whispered loudly in the girl’s ear, “Maybe next time,” and followed after his cousin.

“Look, here, little ‘Goody-two-shoes’,” he said grabbing her by the arm, “What you did back there is rude. You don’t turn down a can of beer at a party.”

“I don’t drink, and this isn’t a party. It’s hell-in-a-hand-basket like you said.”

“You don’t have to drink it. Just hold it so you don’t stick out like a sore thumb. Try to blend in.”

“Why should I want to blend in to this mess?” she demanded.

“Fine! Look stupid. See if I care?” he said, and he broke through the crowd ahead of her.

He said the words without thinking, but he had said them. They were the first mean words she had ever heard him say to her without joking. More than ever before she felt like she looked stupid, and the further he walked away the more stupid and insecure she felt. She glanced around a the countless faces and bleary eyes looking her way, then back toward Seth, but he had disappeared in the shifting sea of flesh. Weaving and stopping and starting through the indifferent bodies, she hurried after him. About thirty feet from where they had come up from the river, she caught him by the arm.

“There you are,” she said, voice shaking, “Don’t want to be seen with your stupid cousin, eh?”

Before he could answer, an older guy with more swagger than stagger and a winsome smile plopped a cooler at their feet.

“Let’s get this party started,” he said, opening the lid, and offering them each a beer.

“I’m good,” Seth said, showing him his half-empty can.

“No, thanks,” shouted Kara above the noise, “We were actually just leaving.”

“Leaving?” the guy said, snapping open the can and holding it toward her face. “You can’t leave now. Me and my friends just got here.” He gestured toward some others who were already blending into the crowd. “Just stay for one more beer”

Seth shot a harsh coach’s glance her way and tilted his head toward the can of beer. Kara reached up with an obedient nod and took it.

“Thanks. I’m Seth. This is my cousin, Kara, and you’re?...”

“Floyd,” he smiled, “but forget that. Just call me Var.” He pointed to the tattoo on his right shoulder, and popped open another can from the cooler. “Well, what are you waiting for?”

Var tilted his head back and poured the beer into his mouth. His Adam’s apple stroked the inside of his unshaven neck like a fishing bobber on a ten-pound line. Seth took a long gulp then looked at Kara expectantly.

For the first time in her life, Kara raised the can to her lips and took a sip of beer. Oh, she had been with friends who snuck in beer to a party before, but she always refused to drink it herself. Had she not been trying to impress her cousin, she would have avoided it then, but there was something about Var’s smile and the attention he was paying her that made her want to act much older than her age. The truth is: she hated the very smell of beer and tried not to let it show as she swallowed that first sip, and when she tipped the can the second time, she let none of it in her mouth.

Var noticed that the smooth perfect skin of her throat did not swallow. He could see in her eyes that she had not been drinking. He could see that the can was out-of-place in her hand. This was a charade, and he enjoyed peeking through her masked innocence. The girls who had joined him on the river held no such suspense. He liked that Kara was not one of them. He liked that she seemed nervous and that she could not look him in the eye.

He watched her throat as she pretended to sip again. This time his eyes continued down to the nape of her neck and beyond, and he licked the corner of his mouth.

“I really think we should be going, Seth,” Kara said to her cousin who was now a few steps away, laughing with Var’s friends.

“You go wait in the truck,” Seth shouted back without looking her way, “I’ll be there in ten minutes.”

Kara asked him again, but he didn’t answer. Her eyes watered a little, but she hid her disappointment with a smile, as she handed the beer back to Var and turned toward the river.

“Aren’t you forgetting something?” Var laughed.

“Go ahead and finish it,” Kara said.

“No. I mean your tube. Where’s your tube.”

“Oh, that. We walked here. My truck’s just across the river.”

She had said my truck as if it were her own and not her fathers, still trying hard not to look stupid, not to look sixteen, not to look like the goody-two-shoes Seth had called her. Without looking back, she played this part as she sauntered into the current and came up dripping on the other side.

A minute or so later, Seth looked back to where his cousin had been standing. Both Kara and Var were gone.

It was five o'clock.
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To be continued and concluded within a couple chapters. Caution: the remaining chapters may not be suitable for "general audiences."

Monday, August 02, 2010

"Still Waters" Chapter 12

This chapter was posted Monday morning from a campground with limited wifi and revised after proof-reading Tuesday afternoon. =)

I still don’t see the bus,” Said Anna.

James turned her shoulders to aim her eyes.

“See that clump of pines? Keep looking toward that as you walk. You’ll see it. We’re cutting straight to the bus.”

“Lead the way, Tonto,” said Clair, pointing toward the pines. “You’re draggin’ your feet.”

“I’m just looking for poison ivy.”

“That’s all we need,” said Clair.

“I thought you said there’d be a path,” whined Kenzie. “My tube keeps hooking on branches.”

“Here let me carry your tube. You carry my rocks. Just stay close behind me.”

The family ducked and wove between the trees and undergrowth until they could see a grassy patch between them and the stand of pines. Beyond the cluster of evergreens was about a hundred feet of brush and sparse trees, then the gravel cul-de-sac where the bus sat. The driver was now loading tubes in the trailer he pulled.

“There’s easy walkin’ ahead, Ladies,” James said over his shoulder, “We’re almost there and the bus hasn’t left.”

He turned his head and was about to step into the small clearing, when a hand-like twig on a slender branch gently swiped across his face. The little finger of the twig hooked his glasses, gently plucked them from his face, and flung them to his right.

“Stop. Freeze, Everybody,” James said calmly. I just lost my glasses. They’re over there somewhere. I heard them land.”

“I see them,” said Kenzie. “This is the second time I’ve found your glasses today.” She kneeled down to pick them up. “You need to get one of those necklace thingies for glasses like our school librarian has.”

“Yeah, that would look great on a man,” James said sarcastically.

“Are you saying ‘Only women can wear them’?” said Anna indignantly.

“No. I’m saying…”

“Let’s just keep walking and save the fashion talk for later,” Clair said, plodding ahead.

“Uh, oh, Dad,” Kenzie said, still on her knees.

“Uh, oh, what?” said James.

“One of the lenses is missing,” she said, handing him the glasses.

He marked the spot of ground where Kenzie had been kneeling in his mind, dropped the tubes, and put on the glasses. It was the right lens that was missing. This was unfortunate, indeed, because for his entire life, James could only wink with his left eye. Try as he might to wink with his right eye, his brow, his cheeks, his lips, they all joined in the palsied contortions, but his right eye would never close alone. Had it been the left lens that was missing, he could have merely held a wink to use the remaining lens, but with the right lens gone, he had to hold his right index finger against his right eyelid to keep it closed as he began scouring the ground.

“Wait up, Mom,” shouted Anna, “Dad lost a lens to his glasses.”

“No. Don’t wait for me,” James insisted, “You guys go tell the bus I’m coming. Anna, take my tube. Kenzie, take yours. There’s less trees on the other side of these pines. Tell the driver I’ll be right there.”

The girls went ahead, and James kept looking in the undergrowth, patting the ground with his left hand (since his right was on “eyelid duty”). He worked in imaginary quadrants that he marked off in his mind. Nothing. “How could the lens not be where the glasses were?” he said aloud, and then in the distance, the bus began beeping its horn.

James scanned the ground again, and then, having no other options, he left his mesh bag of rocks to mark the place, and began jogging toward the bus. The driver was rolling slowly forward as if to hint that he ran a rigid schedule, but as James reached the double doors, the driver opened them and stepped on the brake.

There were about twenty people on the bus, most of them young adults who had bailed out on the party at Fools Hill. Clair and Kenzie sat on the front seat and Anna scooted sideways on the second.

“I saved you a seat, Dad.” Anna said, patting the hard vinyl.

But her father did not turn to thank her, his eyes, one seeing and the other a blur, were fixed on the young driver.

“Could you wait for another five minutes?” he asked. “I lost the lens of my glasses back there, and really need to find it.”

He poked his finger through the vacant frame to demonstrate his plight. The driver looked in the large rearview mirrors on both sides of his bus and shook his head.

“Sir, do you see all those people comin’ up from the river? This place is about to get crazy.”

“Just leave it, James,” pleaded Clair.

“If I wait another minute,” the driver said, “I’ll have to load another twenty tubes and this bus is going to get packed like sardines. All the busses from here on out are three to a seat and then some. I gotta go. On or off, sir?”

James looked at Clair, “I’ll catch the next bus. Just wait by the car.”

“Dad?” Kenzie whined the word as if it were a three syllables.

“It’ll be fine,” he said, stepping off the bus.

“Step back, Mister,” the driver said, stepping on the gas before the door was closed. Late arriving tubers began slapped on the back of the bus as it rolled away. They cursed with single digits shaking at the bus and flung their tubes against the caged-in trailer as it passed. More and more tubers came staggering up the bank from the river. James stepped into the bathroom on his way back to his search. Through the screened eves of the small building, he heard cheering outside. A moment later, he looked at the rusty sink and at the slimy conditions of the facility and decided he was much cleaner than anything he could touch in that place, so he wiped his hands on his pants and walked back out into the sunshine and saw what all the cheering was about.

The new arrivals had piled their tubes in stacks, put two picnic tables on top of each other like bunk beds, and were diving from the top table onto the stacks of tubes only to bounce off and land on the hard gravel road, stones sticking to their bare backs. It had to hurt, but James surmised they were feeling no pain. Everyone cheered as the leaps became more daring. One boy did a front flip but rather than landing flat on the tubes he disappeared inside them, toppling the tower and bursting out fist held high in defiance to the bleeding gouge in his back from one of the tube’s inflation stems. More and more tubers occupied the park. Two more tables were bunked up, and another pile of tubes was made. The few beers left in the many coolers strewn about were now being given as trophies for the dives that ended in most the painful landings onto the road.

Chants and cursing filled the air. Dr. Sinclair was very happy his wife and girls had gone on ahead, and yet, with his finger still holding his eye shut, he watched the utter foolishness from a distance for several minutes before beginning to walk back toward the blind of pines.
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To be continued and concluded within a couple chapters. Caution: the remaining chapters may not be suitable for "general audiences."

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