The summer vacation to Burnsville, North Carolina, with me (“Slinky”), J, his cousin Matt, and Matt’s friend, Mark, happened in the summer of 1993, shortly before I left for a year-abroad program.
We took in the beautiful mountains and scenic drives. We hiked and went whitewater rafting, J fished, and then I ate some of the most delicious fresh-caught trout I’ve ever eaten (at the Troxell’s Restaurant).
I remember that we made a few stops, and took some pictures, on the way from Indiana to North Carolina. Mercifully, I do not remember wagging a payphone on front of my face. I can tell you that I found the pressure relentless — the pressure to be entertaining, for the camera. This was before the era of sharing on social media and there was a self-consciousness about being on camera that seems quaint and embarrassing now. I basically think that any locals who saw us out and about with cameras that day would have quickly decided that we were assholes.
In the scene in which J describes part of a Kool-Aid drink recipe as requiring a person to “get a big hocker,” it could only be my 21-year old self that responded, in part, with: “I’m gonna take off my shirt for that one.” Footage was made of me partially making good on that threat. I can’t really explain the thought process on that one. Let’s just chalk it up to a youthful exhibitionist streak.
Fortunately, we redeemed ourselves in our interactions with our lovely hosts, Nancy and Randy Raskin, the owners (then and now) of the Celo Inn, a charming, European-style bed and breakfast. We enjoyed staying up late to play scrabble and talk with them. Everyone who reads this should plan to visit the Celo Inn someday. I’d like to return to it, myself.