Monday, June 06, 2005

Be careful where you clean your guns

So, there I was... Tucked away comfortably in my own little room at a cozy little hunter's lodge in a town of roughly the population of Baskin Robbins at 9 o'clock on a Wednesday morning in mid January in Vermont. When my sister Spookyrach goes on work related trips she gets Houston, Corpus Christi or some other place where the chance of finding a decent bookstore is just a matter of knowing where to look.

Me? When I go on a work-related retreat, I get "Deliverence" country.

There were six of us that made this trip. A chance to get away from the office and brainstorm on ideas to make our division more successful as we seek to compete in the field of Higher Education. My job? Communications. The PR man. Graduated in four years with a BA in BS. If we were looking for a nice quiet place to work, we chose the right location because there were definitely no distractions.

Sitting in my non-smoking room that was operating on a ventilation system that sucked all the cigarette smoke out of the "parlor" and promptly deposited it in the rooms, I chanced to look at the chest of drawers. It was a nice chest. Nothing fancy but decent enough to get the job done in a small lodge that catered to hunters. It was a nice hunter green chest with a faux finish on top. What caught my eye was a sign carefully placed in the center of the chest, under glass that read. "Please do not clean your guns on the towels."

It then dawned on me that I was on the back edge of civilization. Of course, that wasn't the only informative signage strategically positioned in the lodge. As you enter the front door, you are met by a sign that reads "Do not leave beer coolers in your truck."

It doesn't really matter that you leave stereos, jewelry, bags full of money and any other valuables in there, but there had apparently been a rash of beer cooler robberies in town. What else are those wild and crazy kids going to do on a Friday night? Surprisingly, we were told this by a woman at the desk who had a very distinct British accent. Boy did she get lost when they let her off the boat.

And if that isn't enough, the only eating establishment in town, where we dined at breakfast, lunch and dinner for two days, filling up on gravy, chicken fried steak and anything else served with a side order of grease, was named "Crackers." Being of white anglo saxon protestant decent, I'm not sure if I should be offended by that. The food wasn't bad, but we had an interesting group of waiters and waitresses who weren't real sure what we wanted when asking for skim milk.

Our meetings were held in the basement where the proprietor would occasionally wander through, unlock a set of double doors, enter the room, bang around on things for a while, emerge, relock the doors, walk back through our meeting area and return up the stairs as if nothing strange had just occurred. I should mention at this point that the building in question was at one time a funeral home. One of our group members had an aunt who attended many a funeral in said location and always managed to pass out when she came to a certain spot in one of the rooms.

Gee! I wonder where we'll go for our retreat next year?


SpookyRach said...

Do I remember correctly that this is the SECOND time that you have retreated to this town/place?

Secularistic employment has its advantages. I'll send you postcards from Galveston.

Jackson said...

Well Jonboy I know a should not ask this but you know me, I have to: Did you squeal like a pig?

You would think your Department would find a better place to go. When I was with Admissions, we at least rented the Meeting Room at the Holiday Inn Express. Hey Rach, maybe next time we should suggest that they retreat at the St. James Hotel in New Mexico. At least you had someone to hold your hand Jon.

PPB said...

And the picture of you on Spooky's page is awesome.

halloweenlover said...

I am dying that places like this really exist? Crackers? For real?

jonboy said...

It's true. I spent my high school years in a town of 500 people. Everyone was literally related to everyone else. Scary!