After six years, the ritual is fairly set in stone:
Friday night we play No-Limit Texas Hold ‘Em, with blinds increasing after every two rounds of dealing. Saturday we play a modified version of baseball; teams of two bat, then rotate into the field. We grill burgers and hot dogs for lunch. Some of us then fall asleep on the dock, some of us swim in the lake. Saturday night we load into the boat and head to the local boardwalk for arcade games, or we sit around and talk about how tired we are from baseball. Sunday, despite the lactic acid setting up shop in our muscles, we take turns tubing off the back of the boat. After a few more hours, we reluctantly head back to reality. Monday morning we email about the trip, recounting the highlights, and noting the soreness in our muscles that will last for days.
The “guys weekend” at Lake Winnipesaukee started as an excuse to get away from Boston to play. Now it’s become an opportunity to stay connected and catch up with each other, as we’re beginning to seriously scatter:
- one is married and expecting a bambino in December;
- one is engaged, taking the plunge next May;
- one is moving in with his girlfriend in a few short weeks;
- one lives in New York;
- one is considering PhD programs across the country;
- one disappears for weeks to climb mountains and run marathons;
- one lives in Sharon and travels frequently for business;
- one is married, living in Chicago, and glad that his wife understood he needed to go be with the boys for a few days, even though she is still making the ‘you abandoned me’ jokes.
This year, we spent more time sitting on the dock shooting the breeze than anything else. We told the stories that make us laugh, like the time at our old apartment when one of us visited the college kids downstairs, a baseball bat at his side, to ask them to keep the noise down. We quoted movies extensively (of course), and made fun of each other mercilessly.
In short, a perfect weekend.
We all sensed that the trip, in its current form, has fewer years ahead than behind; we have understanding wives/fiances/girlfriends, but to a point. So I’m putting the stake in the ground now: I expect some form of a group getaway down the road. Ladies, I hope you will indulge us men an afternoon of ill-advised physical activity (I’m seeing flag football). Please try to keep the eye-rolling to a minimum afterwards when we’re complaining of limbs that may or may not be dislodged from their original state. Just pass us the Icy Hot and try not to remind us that we’re not 22 anymore, even though we occasionally try to live as if we are.