Vermilion Valley Resort
Butch & Peggy––owners
Jessica & Maryann––daughters
Kevin “Special K” Speed . . . cook
Tiny––the singing chef
Dave Mau––cook, photograher, restauranteur . . .
Tina––the teary waitress
James––the boat driver and Rose, his girl.
Stoney and Lester––the man, the myth, the legend.
My pages are almost dry––my boots are still holding water and here I am at the resort, hungry as hell.
I’ve been washing a lot of dishes which seems to be the only way to keep sane, out here.
I’d work from six a.m. to closing if I could––anything to pass the time––not that I am really bored––I just like the place, the people––all the people on the page.
I keep looking at the lake and the mountains beyond.
So many peaks up there. I doubt if I’ll ever get close to them, but there they are, like so many waves, frozen in time.
Some bald, no most bald . . . and yet for the dreamer, for the person willing to walk and climb and risk, there’s always the top or the near top, like Donahue––not the top-top––that would have been foolish, but the near top, just high enough to claim it for myself for a moment.
I still remember that first night (officially my second time at the VVR) getting on the boat and James, the driver giving me a cigarette––the cold ride across the lake and then meeting Butch and Peggy.
First thing they did was give me a trailer and told me to get cleaned up––DRY––and then come in for dinner.
The food has always been great at the VVR, but this night was especially great as I felt as though I’d been rescued from the wild weather. Butch also gave me a bottle of Jack Daniel’s as a sort of welcome gift––then there was the nightly gathering of everyone out at the fire pit––the tall-tales and the sad, drunk ones too––all great.
The fire ring is still there at the VVR, but without Butch presiding and the colorful characters he seemed to attract, well . . . there’s a little something missing in my heart––but I keep coming back each year to try and find it.
Mostly, these days, I get off the boat and head straight for the A-frame to find Lester and a few shots, a few stories, a few memories.