Friday, October 30, 2020

The Axe Throwers

 This story dates to Spring 2005. We were once again on one of our ridiculously long Secret Shopper Trips. We'd been out for weeks by late May 2005 and were in kind of a "blur mode" with where we were and where we were going.

It was Memorial Day weekend 2005 and we'd just finished up a three-interview day somewhere in Montana.  We had no clue where we'd spend the night.  After our last interview, we pulled off on a wide spot beside some road and looked at the Montana highway map.  It showed a "camp symbol" not far from our location west of Butte.

So, we shrugged and headed for the camp symbol.  By and by, a sign on the highway pointed to a "campground" to the left. So, we dutifully turned left and began driving down a nicely graded road.

Back then we drove a Big Chevy pickup with a poptop camper in the bed and towed a Suzuki Samurai, one of 7 such specimens we once owned.

By and by, the road turned from A-OK to s***and we were forced to disconnect the Samurai.  As we proceeded, the road dived down a ridiculously steep, slippery grade into a narrow canyon.  Susun drove the Samurai while I gripped white knuckles to the Big Chevy steering wheel.

When we got to the bottom of the grade, we could see a campground to our left. At that point it was a dead end road so there was no where else to go.

We turned left into Deliverance.

A large group of Deliverance men stood staring at us with long-handled axes in one hand, whiskey bottles in the other hand and hog leg revolvers on their hips.  OH! MY! GOSH!

Well, we had no choice but to drive into their midst and take the ONLY remaining campsite left in that tiny campground.

It turned out that the campsite was vacant because it had THE Best Axe Tree.  That's right, those bubbas were having an axe throwing Memorial Day weekend.  We're talking long-handled, double-bit axes. You've got to be a BIG Bubba to throw a long-handled, double bit axe, especially from 50 feet!

But these guys were larger than life and they were ALL drunk as skunks.  They didn't give a diddly damn if we parked in front of "their tree" they still kept their axes whizzing right beside out camper.  They somehow had some unwritten code that each axe thrower had to throw his axe while holding a whiskey bottle in the other hand.

When one of then would actually throw the axe perfectly and it would embed in "The Axe Tree," everybody would pull out their hog leg .45 Long Colt revolvers and shoot reckless rounds into the night sky.

So, I didn't have any real choice,  I HAD to play Forrest Gump and I really played my role well. I climbed out of the camper and said, "Well, what's ya'll doin' there boys, that there sure looks like FUN!"

Well, they kinda adopted me and helped me understand their axes and the pseudo-science of axe throwing and whiskey drinking and hog leg shootin' and it was a rootin', tootin', hootin' Danged Good Time.

They thought we were cool and we thought they were cool. I tell you what, I got to see some WORLD  CLASS axe throwing that night and some righteous revolver shootin', too.

When I came back into the poptop, Susun had made bean burros and forever after we've called them "Bubba Wraps."