Welcome to the Hammock Shop


In many practically feeble attempts to find the quickest routes to the scattered bars and Mom and Pop shops that take the place of the super center stores 'Up nort dair A.' I became quite familiar with the the roads of the deep North woods of Wisconsin, a necessity when you only get one day a week away from the Boy Scout Camp. Anyway a few miles from the camp at one of the sparse intersections of roads and alongside the Wolf River there lies a small drab outcropping of civilization. A bar “Bob and Jonis,” “Bear paw” kayak shop/river tube rental shop, and an abandoned once popular diner club. But it's there amongst the faded nothingness where the colors of the rainbow break through the the otherwise gloom of run down buildings, that you will find the Hammock Shop.

It was late July, the week of my birthday to be exact, and again my long time friend Mike and I found ourselves in Northern Wisconsin, in the middle of another uncharacteristically common heat wave of the times. Which was of course made even worse by the fact I was still dehydrated from a birthday celebration the night before. Our parents had been, for the better part of a week, on one of their bi-decade vacations, at a friend of the family's lake house; an old stomping ground of ours, and had invited us up for a night. Presumably to find humor in out shenanigans.

The age-old broken concrete crunched under the weight of our twenty-fourth century chariot, as we came to the end of our journey, Lake Arbutus. We opened the car doors to the tune of Kid Rock's 'All Summer Long' letting the thick clean air seep into our id, we mentally prepared for the night to come.

See when one travels 'up North' with his buddies he enters into an unwritten social contract in which certain undertakings must be completed to fulfill said contract. The contract contains such formalities as burning things, the approved time of 'beer thirty'(or when it's ok to crack open the first drink of the day), fishing obligations, cigar/pipe time, you know... the standards. Then again the contract only has one rule in that each of its parts has no stipulations, only that they must be done.

The car doors shut behind me and my feet touched ground for the first time in three hours, my back cracked relieving the pressure.

Mike and I shared glances through the squiggly heat waves emanating from the roof of my black Ford Focus, and with ought use of a single word we made seemingly choreographed turns towards the trunk, where the beer cooler was.

“Awe man riding shotgun is tough work.” Mike said as the cap of a Spotted Cow Beer hit the gravel driveway and rolled to a stop a few feet away.

“Next time you can drive then.” My hand rifled through the layer of ice packs to the New Castle Brown Ale which occupied the bottom tier of the cooler.

“Hey you volunteered.” A sarcastic Mike said.

“Shit...Hey you got an opener handy?” The top of my beer of course not being a twist off. Knowing a good chance mike had on his sandals with the opener built into the sole.

He just smiled and walked away shaking his head and leaving me to fend for myself.

Frantically I looked for some type of wooden ledge for the ole 'Overboard' beer method, to rid me of the evil round metal which lied between me and my fortune of ale, but to no avail. It had rained that morning and the wood was too damp to preform the procedure.

Moments later a familiar voice.

“You made it!” Our mom's greeted us.

“Yeah we sure did, do you know where I can find a bottle opener?”