It all happened several summers ago.
There we were, enjoying the Happy Place. For those of you unfamiliar with the Happy Place, it looks like this:
This is what children look like in the Happy Place:
Oh my God how HAPPY is that?? You can see why we call it the Happy Place, eh? Check out how my brother feels about it. Spoiler alert: HE LOVES IT TOO.
In case you were wondering, The Happy Place is in Wisconsin. So all those folks scouring the globe for a place of peace and happiness and parties featuring rude beer and roasted pigs, stop looking in tropical or exotic locations. A little bit southeast of the Wisconsin Dells is all you need to know.
Anyway, back to my story. It all happened several summers ago. There we were, enjoying the Happy Place. Now, it’s important to know that over its history as a vacation destination, the Happy Place once hosted two resorts and one campground. The campground remains, but the resorts have all given way to more upscale lakeside homes (which may or may not always come with more upscale residents). But on any given weekend in summer, the lake is crawling with boats, jet skis, swimmers, fishermen and other water babies. On any given weekend in winter, the lake is packed full of ice houses and fisherman who, for some demented reason, think that it is fun to drill a hole in the ice and sit there until a fish grabs hold. Clearwater Resort is gone, in its place (but at the top of the hill instead of lakeside) is the tacky and lovable Boondock’s Bar (home of the aforementioned Karaoke Bob. Don’t put in too many songs, he won’t call you).
It is safe to say that upon the thousands and thousands of bodies that have taken to the water over the years, sooner or later, someone is going to have a little dookie. You know what I mean. Number two. Pinch one off. Doodie in the pool. A dump, if you will. In the water. In its history, an Illinois politician who shall remain nameless may have been one of those who took the Browns to the Superbowl at the back of the lake, only, you know, the Browns were a poop and the Superbowl is Lake Jordan. You probably didn’t need me to explain that.
Anyway, as we enjoyed the back of the lake that hot summer afternoon, I heard a familiar voice call for my attention.
It was my father.
My parents have five children. Carrie, Tommy, Laura, Amy and Marney. And in his lifetime, my father has actually used those names only a handful of times. We are all called, affectionately, Kid, Stosh, Gertrude or Ike. In trouble? Thy name is Clown. In super trouble and about to get hit? You’re called Pal, and you better duck. Call out any of those monikers while we are together, and all of us will turn. But, I was being called Kid, so clearly, I was not in trouble.
In slow motion, I saw it. Being hurdled at me. Brown. Stiff. Log-like.
It hits me.
“Dad just threw dookie at Marney!!!!!!!!” Laura shouts.
There was the evidence, floating in the water. My father, upon spotting dookie in the water, thought, “Hmmmmm, what should I do with this? Oh look, there’s my youngest child, I better throw it at her.”
And so it was.
Thus began the family legend of how my father threw dookie at me. Now, to this day, he SWEARS it was just a stick, and I suppose that is possible. Water-logged branchery submerged in Lake Jordan is plentiful, and certainly takes on a dookie-like appearance. And of course, after being doused with dung, I screamed like a little girl and swatted it away, so I certainly didn’t inspect it a la Bill Murray.
Still, I prefer to say that my father, when listing his life achievements, can put “I threw dookie at my kid” somewhere near the top. Or, perhaps, the bottom (bah-dum-dum).
My father turned 71 years old this week. Brought into this world on August 17, 1939, he’s still as sassy as ever — dookie throwing abilities and all. So when you see him, wish him a Happy Birthday. But be careful at the Happy Place. He’ll throw dookie at you, too.