Youthful Misadventures

I worry I’ll forget all my hilarious stories one day. I got up to my fair share of shenanigans in my youth, though don’t we all? I think I’m going to start writing some of them down.

“The Great Charm Bracelet Debacle”

When I was around 13 I used to tag along to a friend (J’s) camper on weekends. It would usually just be her dad and us girls, sometimes we’d see EO up there, other times we’d just amuse ourselves all weekend fishing and wandering about the camp.

As the weekends progressed J started getting bored just hanging around the lake. She insisted we go into the tiny little town and get some supplies from the Ben Franklin Craft store. At first I was fine with that, we’d grab some markers and paper and draw to our heart’s content.

One day J decided she wanted a charm so she could start a charm bracelet. We’d already spent all our money on more art supplies so she told me to go steal it. J had no issues with stealing and did so all the time. I however, didn’t approve of stealing. I looked at her like she was crazy. She threatened to never bring me up to the lake again, knowing how much I loved coming up there. I was pissed off. Even then I had no tolerance for being threatened, especially by a peer.

I figured I’d teach her a lesson. I said I’d do it and walked back into the store. I quickly pocketed the tiny charm inconspicuously and put it in my secret pocket, then I very obviously wandered over to the marker section and grabbed a large marker and placed it visibly in my front pocket. I sauntered over by the exit, making sure J could see me, waiting for the manager to pounce on me.

It didn’t take long. I was still a good 15 feet from the door when the little middle-aged lady grabbed me violently by the arm. She started berating me as I quickly handed her the marker. She dragged me (in full view of J) towards the back screaming about thieves and calling the cops. I started to get a bit nervous. I figured I’d just get kicked out of the store, having not actually left the building with any merchandise, not have the police called on me.

She made me sit alone in the back office, waiting for the police who showed up 5 minutes later, toting J with them. I got a talking to, but there were no charges filed against me, as I had not actually left with any merchandise. No one checked my pockets, the charm was still sitting there on my persons. They called J’s dad to come get us, and called my dad as well to let him know I’d been “scared straight” about stealing.

When the police officer left the back office to talk to the store manager I pulled the charm out of my pocket and threw it at J. I told her to never ask me to break the law for her again. She threw the charm in the trash, probably afraid they’d search her before letting us go.

She ended up getting in way more trouble than I ever did over that situation. She was grounded, I was banned from any more weekends with them and she was told she wasn’t allowed to go to the big rock fest we’d been looking forward to for weeks. I told my parents the whole story, they said they hoped J had learned her lesson, but that I shouldn’t go to those extremes in the future. My parents ended up feeling so bad that I was banned from lake weekends that my dad actually brought me to the rock concert himself, a concert I had previously been told I wasn’t allowed to go to.

I did end up losing my friendship with J over this, slowly at first but by the start of high school we were like strangers. She must have learned a valuable lesson from it though, I heard she never tried to strong-arm anyone like that again, nor did she ever steal anything again. Perhaps that made it worthwhile.


Today has been so emotionally exhausting.

There was a funeral for an old friend and even though we weren’t active in each other’s lives anymore there was a real sense of loss knowing the option to hang out wasn’t there anymore. Every time we saw T’s mom tears just started flowing, her pain and loss were so profound they magnified ours. It was bittersweet to see so many other old friends at the funeral and subsequent reception. It was stated numerous times that we wished we were all getting together for a different reason. Many vows to keep in touch were made, not sure how many will actually come to fruition. It was nice to share stories about T though, all the good memories and kind things he did lent a small sense of comfort.

Afterwards E the Js and I ended up going to a bbq where we saw some other old friends from a later era in life. A different chapter full of people I’d grown apart from. It was awkward but nice at the same time. A different kind of bittersweet. Part of you wants to reconnect and the rest of you remembers why you’ve let so much time pass between outreaches. Life changes people, who and what you find important changes, nostalgia can temporarily displace that knowledge but come morning it’s still there.

One thought that kept swirling around in my head all day was just how impactful a single relationship can be. How one friendship can touch and change so many other people’s life. If I hadn’t ever become friends with E both our lives, and the lives of SO MANY PEOPLE, would be drastically different. Ours was and forever will be one of those pivotal friendships. Even though we have separate lives in separate states now, our paths were set, and to an extent defined, by our involvement in one another’s lives. No amount of time or distance will ever lesson how important she is to me. No one will ever convince me that by my accepting a last-minute invite to a sleepover almost 18 years ago I started a chain of events that forged numerous other relationships and lasting friendships that would have otherwise never been. That choice allowed events to unfold and lives to be enriched and if nothing else I can die knowing that.

Life has many odd circumstance, many overlapping circles of people, and I wish it wouldn’t take death to remind us of that.


When summer ends I will be embarking on a three-week epic road trip to see how many amazing photographic opportunities I can find. We leave MN and head out to NY where we’ll roll down the east coast all the way to Key West, FL and then back up to MN.

We have plenty of places in mind to stop and check out but I’m wondering what hidden gems are out there on our route that can only be found through word of mouth.

If you know of a great place or amazing site that I should check out please let me know. I want to make the most of my trip and see as much of the country as I can. Any restaurant suggestions would also be greatly appreciated.

We’ll be going through WI, IL, IN, OH, PA, NY, NJ, DE, MD, VA, NC, SC, GA, FL, TN, KY & possibly MO, as well as a quick jaunt to the Bahamas if time permits.

I am getting more and more excited for this trip!