Anyone with a face knows I’m not an outdoorswoman. I prefer concrete and controlled temperatures over sun and soil, and I deal with the pale, pale consequences by not having skin cancer or premature wrinkles. However, in the interest of blog material, I agreed to go “up north” this past weekend for something called “The Blessing of the Putt Putts”. It’s supposed to mimic the Blessing of the Bikes, but it’s less bad ass and more white trash. If that’s possible. It’s kind of like redneck Coachella, but with even less black people. Basically, it’s a parade of backwoods good ol’ boys riding in golf carts and ATVs down dusty, dirt roads while shouting “Merica!” and drinking lukewarm cans of domestic beer. Or, my living nightmare.
My brother-in-law’s family has some property up there, and my sister invited me and a friend to come participate in the festivities, and bunk with them at the cabin. My sister and her husband are more into the whole, “forget the G” thing than I am. They love fishin’, huntin’ and muddin’ and spend weekends up there whenever possible, getting dirty and sitting near a fire. If you’re wondering where “up there” is, it’s north of here. Right around the spot where up north starts looking and sounding a lot like down south. Mid-Northern Michigan has a way of parroting the accents and attitudes of rural Kentucky that will forever confuse me. There were confederate flags. Confederate. Flags. I sincerely doubt the owners of them even understand the historical implications of the flags, but I’m not sure if that’s better or worse.
What does one wear to Redneck Coachella? I recently bought a pair of overalls, in an attempt to combine being unstylish with having camel toe. You probably won’t see me wear them around town, but they seemed like the perfect wardrobe choice for Putt Putt. I paired them with a T-shirt that had “Weekend Warrior” stretched strangely across my boobs and my most lesbian pair of combat boots. I thought lipstick might alert the locals that I didn’t belong, so I opted to skip that and go for a more natural face. Meaning, I shortened the wing of my eyeliner, shaded my eyebrows and only contoured at about a Kourtney on the Kardashian scale of bronzer and highlighter. In short, I kind of looked bad, but given our location I still felt pretty confident. And one should have confidence before embarking on a slow-speed backwoods bar crawl.
We all rounded up on the baseball diamond for the actual “blessing”, which was a very old man on a PA system from 1994, saying the word “lord” 37 times with what was presumably a mumbled prayer in between. We were lucky enough to have parked next to a few members of the famed “Bitely Boys” biker gang. One of which we named “Beans” after we saw him stand majestically atop his recreation vehicle while he enjoyed some baked beans straight from the can. An American flag waved behind him and I swear an eagle flew past and somewhere, Toby Keith wiped away a solitary tear with the sleeve of a confederate soldier’s uniform.
The first stop, after we drove slowly in a line of open-topped ATVs, was a bar called “Woody’s” located somewhere in the middle of the woods. We were travelling in a group of three vehicles, the other two occupied by my bro-in-law’s neighbors. We called them the triplets, or “Huey, Dewey and Louie” since they all had the same, “my t-shirt is tucked into my embellished-pocket jeans and secured by a faded brown belt” look about them. For some reason, the only music the trips brought with them was a Beastie Boys CD. I didn’t question the choice, I just let them fight for their right to party. A nearby drunk girl, however, felt that the crime of playing Beastie Boys was so egregious that she had to march over and demand that they turn it to something a little more crowd-pleasing, like System of a Down. No joke. System of a Down. She continued to stand there, wobbling in the wind, so I did her a favor and let her know that nobody cared what she thought. That’s when she got mean. She referred to me as “that fat girl” and I started to get salty. I wanted to tell her to get her meth-addled body back to the hovel from whence it came, but I figured I’d end up having to explain what most of those words meant, so instead, I just sat in the comfort of my superiority and tried to ignore her existence like her parents no doubt did. We’d run into her again at the end of the trip, nothing serious, just a moment where she heard one of us say the word “Pinterest” and responded by saying, “Oh my god, the internet?” She sure got us there.
There are only two bars in the area, so calling it a “bar crawl” is a bit of a stretch. After Woody’s, we meandered to a section of road near a lake where everyone just sort of stopped. I hopped out to explore the immediately surrounding area and get my hands on some more vodka gummies and a pudding shot that fell out of the back of a golf cart containing three very drunk and very scantily clad cougars. These women were in their late 50s (although parts of them were very clearly younger) and would later make out with each other in line for the bathroom outside a literal outhouse while leering old men high fived and spit tobacco juice on each other’s shoes. I’m just happy to have my lifelong question answered. “What happens when the girls who have gone wild grow up?” Now I know. This stop is also where a man of about 75 sidled over with a jar full of cherries he had been soaking in jet fuel. I ate one, because nobody ever warned me about taking cherries from strangers, and I swallowed against my better judgment. I guess swallowing is akin to betrothal because Old Man Jet Fuel hung on. He asked us some personal questions, said he was a tattoo artist and suggested I undo the only remaining strap of my overalls so he could take a peek at what I kept underneath. I told him that underneath was only sorrow and cellulite and to move on. So he did.
The rest of the day was more of the same. I drank, but couldn’t seem to get drunk enough to stop being surprised at things I saw. We did get to enjoy a potluck lunch of sorts, but by the time I got through the line there were only scraps left. I’m not much of a “sloppy joe” gal, anyway. But I was ready to fight someone over a ham rollup. We drove around some even back woodsier trails before heading home for the evening and every time I screamed, I inhaled more dirt. My coughs are still dusty. I’m battered and bruised from heaving my body in and out of the unconventional vehicle but when I got home I noticed I was at least a full shade darker. I was pretty pleased with my brown self until I showered and realized it was just nature’s bronzer. I’m still translucent. It was dirt.
People keep asking me if I’m excited about going back next year, but I had to explain to someone what the word “euphemism” means after another of my hilarious jokes fell flat and my body literally rejected the idea of outside later that evening, so I think I’ll pass. I like the letter “G” too much.