It All Makes Sense Now, Finally...
Camp Finally, what does that mean exactly? I understand that those who own property and have "camps," like to give there place a catchy name to make it their own. I myself coming from a family owned cabin in Northern Michigan, simply known as "Nelson's Not Mucho Rancho," the name explains it, it aint much, but it's ours. It all makes sense to me, it is yours, and the name is what makes it your own special place. After several years of not really knowing the meaning of Finally, it all came to me in a sad moment the day after deer hunting season ended in 2009.
Several years back I was introduced to the Fahey family and "Camp Finally." Nestled deep in the woods of Northern Maine, lays a jewel that many before me have had the joy of experiencing and I know many more will get too in the future. Built by several men and a few kids before I was even born, the tradition can be felt just by driving into the door yard. The camp has it all, mounts and pictures of successful hunts of the past litter the walls. Pots and pans hang from the wall, having cooked some of the best meals anyone could ever ask for with many more to follow. Home made built racks maximize a small space for sleeping quarters, each one claimed and slept in for many years. Notes from visitors who stopped in when no one was around can be seen through out. Letters home from long lost hunters hang to be read by new comers and regulars who enjoy a good story. Even those who have gone off to far away places and experienced some of the best times of their life, still feel their ties to Camp Finally.
The camp has a full cast of characters to fill the racks each night this Thanksgiving weekend. The old guy that built the place simply known as "Doc" or "Piggy Pie" depending on whose doing the talking is here. The "Legacy", the son that now runs the place and keeps everything in order from year to year is present as always. The guy with all the new gadgets and top of the line equipment makes his presence known. There is the "Die Hard", you all know him, no matter the situation or how bleak the outlook on a successful hunt is, he rides every excuse ridden hunter with an empty tag. The old war veteran that every one in camp probably respects the most, but never tells him is the old stand by, never missing a weekend, that's our Billy. The guy that travels the great distance just to be with the boys, that's me, I know the hunting is not good, but the draw of a family away from home is too much to pass up each year. When I pulled into the yard this year it hit me, it all started to make sense, it just popped in there, I'm Finally here.
I understand why everyone and everything has a nickname, I Finally understand. We hunt places called the Rock Road, Skunk Pond and my personal favorite, Finish the Hunt. A name developed after the Die Hard was a little upset with the group after only filling one of three possible tags, how could they stop hunting when they all knew there were two more deer traveling with the one that was harvested, Finish the Hunt! I Finally get it. I get picked on because of my weight, but it's because they care about me and want me to be healthy, I Finally get it.
This year I found out a guy named Otis, really is known as Joe, but he'll always be Otis to me, I get it, I Finally understand. I Finally get to sit by the fire and have a cold one with the boys. After months of waiting, I get to play the #$%@ game, a game punishing a foul mouthed story teller after Doc complained that we all swore too much. Game rules are unique to the camp and if you get to visit some day you'll Finally get the rules.
The season had ended the day before, the truck was packed and I was ready to head home. After five days of no running water, it was Finally time to get home and have a shower. After five days of not seeing my wife, it was Finally time to wrap my arms around her again and let her know that even though I talked tough when I was away, I really did miss her. That's when the sadness I spoke of earlier hit, after all of the good food, the great laughs and the good hunting, it was Finally time to go home.
Camp Finally 2009, the weekend was done, it was over, it was Finally time to head back. As I pulled away I realized that I shouldn't be sad because come next fall, I can pull back in the yard and say, I am Finally here, I'm Finally back, Camp Finally... I get it.