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Pinwiko 6


Bruceport County Park
South Bend, WA

What can I say about PNWCO6?

You are unlikely to meet a more pleasant group of people to camp with. I have no complaints.

WHAT? No COMPLAINTS?!? What the devil are you going to write about? Huh? What?

Pacific North West Camp Out.

PNWCO. I guess if you just had to pronounce it, it would sound something like pinwiko. Sounds vaguely governmental. But this acronym is not meant to be pronounced, or even understood.

It's meant to be enjoyed.

PNWCO is all about the 4 Ps of Camping: pfood, pfellowship, pfires, and pfun. All were present in plenitude. Lessee, wasn't there another P? Hmmmmm. It'll come to me.

I got here on Thursday. I drove up to Oysterville and back, stopped at the Thai restaurant in Long Beach and had a fine Panang curry with mixed seafood. Then down to Ilwaco, for a walk along the marina.

I'd planned to arrive anonymous in the evening at a pinwiko campfire, introducing myself as Dewey Noam, a perennial lurker on the newsgroup. Check out the hospitality. But the hardcore campfire folks, other than myself, hadn't come yet. Then Wade drove by, offering to introduce me to the other early arrivals. A lot of my jokes end up like this. Dewey never really had a chance.

Wade and I spent a couple of pleasant hours talking to Mike and Carol in their motorhome. Mike gave me some pretty good clues about kayaking in the local sloughs.

Next morning dim and early I went down to the beach with a folding chair. It was plenty foggy. There was a more than misty indistinctness to the borders of things, like rocks, and driftwood, and even the surface of the sand. I thought my eyes had finally gone bye-bye when the top of a large log I was about to sit on seemed to squirm and slip away from me.

That's when I discovered sand fleas. There were millions of them, everywhere, hopping all over. So much for sleeping on the beach. They didn't bite, at least not me, but the endless creeping vibration of every surface was eerie.

Think I'll use the chair.

Sand fleas seem to always jump forward. They are optimists that way. The regular biting black sort back home, if I remember rightly, jump backward. At any rate, as the sun rose they magically disappeared, probably down into the sand, and the outlines of things firmed up.

Much as it seems to stay the same, everything is always moving here along the shore. It is always at edges that the truth comes out. There's always ferment, always a whittling away.

Ready or not.

Even on this mild day, I see 6 distinct rumbling frothy lines of cold combers coming in, rolling and tossing whatever they touch.

Back by the dune it is quieter, but there are waves building in the earth also. It diminishes here where the grass takes hold. But you can hear it happening, that slippery constant whisper of tiny grains tumbling in the wind, rolling and massing and toppling into slow breakers.

I sat back against one such, and found myself lost in the breathing center of a poem by Robert Frost:

"The people along the sand
All turn and look one way.
They turn their back on the land.
They look at the sea all day.

The land may vary more;
But wherever the truth may be...
The water comes ashore,
And the people look at the sea."

I brought the book along for company. But who was I kidding? How could I read with all this stuff going on? I got up and folded the chair, turned back to the trail up and over into the campsites.

On the bluff above there was an elegant indistinct figure standing. The sun behind him threw a glittering halo round his head. I knew I'd been lulled into hallucination out there when I got close enough to see it was Wade.

Wade? With a halo? Please.

There was an incredible pile of food on the tables at dinner. And then desserts. I was taken with BD's pumpkin pies. I may have eaten one of them entire, myself. Burp. Sorry about that.

O yeah. That other P.

Perhaps it was Pfat. Which is how I look in the pictures people took:

Back in '95, when I had my first heart attack, I was told to cut fat out of my diet. I did, and lost 42 pounds in two months. I looked a little like the recently released inmate of a prison camp, but I felt pretty good. Two hundred pounds is skin and bones for me.

This time the surgical procedure had an opposite effect. When I got out of hospital in Edmonton, I couldn't seem to get enough sensation, of every sort. Like a gasping man thrown up on shore, I just sucked down the precious air. Also memories, ideas, colors, smells, sounds, tastes. Everything I almost lost.

Food was a part of that. It was everywhere, and I was right there with it.

Now that I am pretty sure of living a bit longer, I guess it's time to tone that down. Before the angina attack, with all that exercise and fresh mountain air, weight was actually melting off me.

I've tried all sorts of diets, and they all work, if you can be consistent about it. Lately I've discovered a couple of new ones.

Kevin on the newsgroup suggested the Stunt Double Diet. Hire somebody to take your place during the dangerous part of every meal. Sounds like it could work, but it might get expensive. Especially if they unionize.

Last month I invented another ploy: The Delicious Diet. For when you can't get to the mountains, and can't afford a stand-in.

It's simple. Try everything you see. If it is not Delicious, put your fork down. Eat only when it actually tastes outstanding.

Don't spell out this rule too precisely to your wife. You could get into real trouble.

But if you can avoid just eating out of habit or boredom, that ought to eliminate maybe half the calories you now take in. Most of the items you will be able to eat are on the appetizer menu. That's a bonus.

But it may work better in the middle of the country. To my chagrin, I can testify that it doesn't work at all well in the midst of all this fresh seafood on the Pacific coast.

And it certainly didn't work at supper during PNWCO6.

After everyone was gorged, and beginning to wander back to their sites to sleep it off, Cecil brought out some wonderfully gratuitous party favors: individual sacks of some of the best home-smoked salmon I've ever tasted.

I had most of mine for breakfast, in an 3 egg omelette, with cream cheese, black olives, paprika, and cracked black pepper. Hey, it's on my diet.

And everyone knows you can't make a new body without breaking eggs.

So what's the point of trying to diet, you say? I dunno. It's a little like:

"Backward, turn backward,
O Time in your flight..."

Foolishness? Probably. But consider the last verse of that Frost poem:

"They do not look out far.
They do not look in deep.
But when was that ever a bar
To any watch they keep?"

And that's enough poetry for one day.


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