One wake up. That’s all that stood between him and the mountains. Having just arrived home from work, he decided to go ahead and bring the necessary gear stored in the garage into the house. Man, he hadn’t used his blue Kelty external frame pack for years. Lifting it off the bottom shelf of the tall grey wooden shop-cabinet in the garage, he was immediately awestruck by how familiar the metal felt within his hand. The memories came rushing back.
The outermost flap pocket was bulging with a several yellow trash bags which doubled as poor-man rain covers for the pack when necessary. His very own four season, dual door, dual vestibule Eureka K2 XT tent finally rendered those unnecessary. He put them aside.
Curiosity took over. He wondered if the pack still had the devotional and music books from scouting days. Yup.
What other treasures did the pack contain? Muskol–the best insect repellent available. Ah, deet. He chuckled to himself as he remembered that he used to derive great pleasure from reading other brand’s deet percentages knowing they had only puny, laughable amounts of deet. Yes, Muskol was the best ever, and it was his.
What else… Oh, here’s something: a Ziploc bag filled with materials for a homemade first-aid kit. What’s this? Three quarters. “Wow,” he startled himself not realizing he exclaimed that out loud. It all came rushing back. His scout leaders always recommended carrying a few quarters in case a pay phone was needed. Those quarters had been in that bag, in that pack for over 15 years. Those three quarters exemplified the two most eloquent, powerful words he’d ever heard: Be prepared.
Happy Labor Day.
Confused, this was the first time he could remember seeing anything other than milk in a one gallon jug. He eyed the waitress suspiciously. Licking his lips at the mention of homemade root beer, he believed the milk jug proved its homemade claim while simultaneously casting a shadow of doubt regarding the health code. The root beer was fantastic.
Hannibal, MO is where he found himself. Why? Who can remember such things? Besides the root beer, he remembered hearing about Mark Twain. He has yet to meet a man who can forget about Mark Twain once they become aware of him. He also remembered his parents being at the restaurant, so he knew it wasn’t a boy scout trip–the main reason he would’ve been in Missouri.
Ahh, boy scouts. Some of the happiest moments of his childhood occurred because of the boy scouts. Almost every boy scout event etched at least one memory into his mind. Those green Eureka Alpine tents. At first, his fourth grade hands had trouble setting them up, but the older boys gladly taught him to work smarter not harder. Building fires, hiking, sleeping out under the stars, canoeing–all things he would’ve never done if it hadn’t been for troop 428.
Boy Scouts. That was a long time ago. As he grew to be an older teen, he wanted to own more gear himself. Coincidentally, his family was on vacation in Wyoming, on a ranch, where he first laid eyes on a Cabela’s master catalog. Not knowing the treasure he’d stumbled upon, he fumbled through the pages at first. It was the tent section that caused him to slow down. And slow down he did. Reading the description of the 3-person, 4-season, dual door, dual vestibule Eureka Summit XT, he could hardly contain himself. And for only $229! Unfortunately, even though a second trip to Wyoming from Kansas required a drive through Sydney, Nebraska where the flagship showroom store was located, and even though they stopped and it was near his summer birthday, his mother wasn’t having it. (Whether his father would’ve bought it is another issue. Let’s just say he learned too late in life that the man had a harm time saying ‘no’.) While crushed, the damage was temporary as he was at least happy to be heading back to the Cheyenne River Ranch.
The chance to regularly shop in a Cabela’s came into his life once again with the advent of the Kansas Speedway in 2001. This brought Cabela’s, the #1 tourist attraction in Kansas, to his home town. No more ordering from the catalog. But at this point the trouble was that he was in college and college had landed him back in NE Missouri on the Mississippi, near Mark Twain’s ol’ stomping grounds. Shopping in a Cabela’s was becoming a fantasy that was just too good to be true.
I’m happy to report the wait is over. Today, August 15th, 2013, not one, but two Cabela’s locations are opening in the Denver Metro area at 10:30 am. He moved to Denver on a whim, a decision rooted in passion. Some might foolishly count this turn of events as coincidence. He knows it to be fate. Mark Twain said, “The two most important days in your life are the day you are born and the day you find out why.” He now knows the third most important day in your life is the day you learn someone loves you enough to not give up on you. For him, that day is today. Long live Cabela’s!!