Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Re-convening with the Monks of Autumn

Unless something momentous springs to mind and simply has to be expressed, this is likely to be my only posting this week. On Friday I'll be meeting with a bunch of cobbers for the 17th annual gathering of the Nick Adams Society, and part of the collective bargain requires a piece of prose from each member. I've got my work cut out for me.

The NAS is a mongrel assembly (or "motley crew", if you prefer - the moniker is in fact more applicable to us than it is to the band that claimed it, since we are more demonstrably prone to sea changes of the heart than they ever were. If my use of "motley" confuses you, you're not alone. Look it up in the dictionary, or simply trust me on this: Yeats knows his English better than Nikki Sixx does. But I digress.)

We're twelve guys, most of whom are veterans who survived the academic and emotional carnage of a particular "Bible College". Some of us, in our early 20s, fixed onto Hemingway's macho post-religious musings ("Nada y pues nada" - damn straight) for succor. Someone else scored access to a cottage in the Kawartha Lakes, and we indulged in a weekend of unbridled (and unexceptional) craziness.

For some inexplicable reason, we kept returning every fall. The craziness took on a gentle shape, and now the event serves as a yearly retreat for diverse people of surprisingly common ground. The fury of our heresies is no more (or less) remarkable than the immovability of our orthodoxies. So ... same time next year?

Absolutely.

11 comments:

DarkoV said...

I recall a memorable winter's weekend one autumn on one such lake up north. The fashion plate that came with us opted for flip-flops and almost left with frostbite. Nothing like a good chill to chase off the end-of-summer blahs. Have a great time! Any chance your devoted readers will get to read one of these prose pieces. You can even recommend the quality and quantity of "refreshments" that should be intaked prior to the read.

DarkoV said...

should be intaked ??? I believe I meant "that one should bathe one's throat with." Please excuse the bad English.

Whisky Prajer said...

I firmly believe Dalwhinnie should be intaked at any available opportunity. The night of our readings, however, we usually have a bottle or two of Lagavulan open. (I'm sure FCB has something to say about our bourgeois taste in single malts - spit it out, man!).

It should be noted that said spirits also make for a smoother intaking of our prose! (And I will post something soon, I promise...)

Whisky Prajer said...

Should also add: I laughed at your flip-flop clad dandy. There's one in every crowd, isn't there?

Cowtown Pattie said...

No real flip-flop dandy, but I certainly raised some mountain men eyebrows when I popped out of our U-Haul truck about midnight one late April evening in 1973. Just married, moving to Denver, and we had stopped for coffee on Monument Hill outside of Denver. I had been asleep, so unaware of the inches deep ice and snow. When we left Cowtown, it was a balmy 90 degrees and I donned shorts and a halter top (and yes, flip-flops) for the roadtrip. Still remember the stares...

Whisky Prajer said...

Hmm. I'm wondering if a few of those stares mightn't have been informed by something other than "environmental disconnect"...

F.C. Bearded said...

Wha???

Noo, just how did I earn this reputation as mocker of other people's choice of whisky? I deny! I repudiate! Am I some old Fat Bernard Shaw who sits smoking-jacketed in red leather armchair, tittering away to himself as he scribes a parfumed parchment with faux quill pen, denouncing the bourgoise tastes of lesser mortals and scum-of-the-earth plebs encountered while promenading drinking parlors? I think not. As if I'd ever slag you or anyone else for drinking single malt whiskies? Even if Lagavulin does taste like industrial solvent?

No: not me, pal.

Where, indeed, have you ever seen me write out-loud that Dalwhinnie, as it's name suggests, is a girly drink fit only for the Ladies Lounge and club soda? Where, I ask, Where?

Nowhere.

P'tah!

DarkoV said...

This Nick Adams Society? Is it named after the Nick Adams who so mysteriously died, on the skids of bad acting and mis-aimed ambition? That Nick Admams came from Nanticoke, PA which (And I could tell you from personal expeirence) is like the Lethbridge, ON of the US of A. That's a hell of a Literary/Drinking Society Club you've got there, if that's the case. Even your basic token Bowery bum sniffed his nose at the site of that Nick Adams.

Whisky Prajer said...

FCB - Nice of you to show up! I'll see if I can't scrounge up a bottle of Talisker in yer bilious honour.

DV - you got me googling. No, that is most emphatically not the Nick Adams who inspired the yearly weekend (though I suspect I've seen the, uh, "spirit" of this coulda-been-a-has-been from time to time). The NA we identified with was the Hemingway protagonist of Men Without Women, a title which pretty much summed up our lives at the time. In MWW, Adams is clearly suffering from shell-shock, and gives elliptical evidence that he's been a bit of a cad, so he returns to the wilds of Michigan to get his shit together. We fancied ourselves similarly burdened, until the uncorked bottle told the real story.

Tom said...

The only image I can conjure up of you w/friends at a weekend cabin, is our own shared experiences; Falcon Lake, Keith's uncle's cabin, trivial pursuit, marathon Machiavelli games, roasted weenies, drinking... what? wine coolers? Beer? Don't recall...

Whisky Prajer said...

Oog! Wine coolers! "California", to be exact. We were very young.

I don't remember the cuisine, but I do recall the Machiavelli games. Seems to me I was eliminated quite early on, and left to my own devices while tending the fire...