Rivers & Meat: The Keys to Independence

When I was a little girl — maybe just 4 or 5 — I could tell you how to get to Salmon River. As in, if  you put me in the car, I could  give directions on how to get there. This is mostly because I spent countless weekends camping in the woods along the river. But the last time I was at ye old Salmon River, I had my dog with me. He’s been dead since 2003, so you do the math.

So it was with great joy, and a little nostalgia, that I kicked off 4th of July weekend by loading into a car with my friend, Dan, and his dog — Bubba the Wonder Dog — and heading on down to my old stomping grounds. We pulled off the road and headed into  the woods, and found a nice quiet area with some rocks out in the middle of the river to sun ourselves on. We found what amounted to a little rock island on in the middle of the water where there was enough room for us to lay around like beached seals, or play a little ball with Bubba the Wonder Dog. It even had convenient little lagoons where he could go into the water without fear of getting swept down river.

I’d tell you where it is, but if I show up there and you’re sunning yourself on my island…I’d be seriously pissed.

Bubba was plum tuckered out by the time we got to the grocery store.

When we were just about to fall asleep in the sun, we noticed a bunch of girls floating down river in tubes. Up ahead was a bit of a waterfall and Dan, being the nice guy that he is, told them it was 10 feet. It, of course, was not but it was funny watching them try to navigate it anyway. They had to stop themselves from going over in the middle and moved closer to the bank but we saw them continue on down the river, so we assume they survived.

Once that excitement was over, we went back to laying around and making the dog chase his ball. Don’t worry, Nutmeggers, I slathered myself in sunblock — especially my beautiful face. Eventually we headed home, but not before stopping at Highland Park Market to get some seriously good food to grill. I ate more meat for dinner that night than I did in the two weeks prior. But every once in awhile a girl just needs a steak…and prosciutto… and New England crab cakes…

By Monday I was out of my food coma and the news had brainwashed me into believing it was going to be hot and humid, so I talked my cousin and brother into heading out to Satan’s Kingdom to celebrate Independence Day with yet another river. Here’s the thing, though… Getting into water that feels like glacial run-off has a way of making you want to move to sub-saharan Africa. The Farmington River was FREEZING but it was also nice enough to be moving rather swiftly, so our butt cheeks didn’t have a chance to freeze solid. We did, however, almost catch our death of pneumonia while going through the rapids. So, so cold.

But the cockles of our hearts were warmed by the entertaining sight of a bunch of guys wading back down stream in search of the keys they’d lost somewhere along the way. Poor bastards are probably still there.

Don’t feel too bad for us, though, Nutmeggers. We filled our cold little bellies with beef patties and cocoa bread from Jamaican Bakery on Albany Avenue. There is just nothing that says America like a little pocket-o-beef from the West Indies.