Welcome to the KingZoo and Funny Farm, where we learn to live, laugh, and love together. Here you'll find snippets of life in our zoo, parenting tips we've learned along the way, reflections on shining God's light in this world, passions in the realm of orphan care, and our journey as parents of a visually impaired child with sensory processing disorder. Have fun!

Monday, September 6, 2010

No Butt Baumans

The infamous homemade root beer

The Bauman's, drunk on Aunt Ellen's erroneously concocted root beer, look to the sky thinking they'll find the missing hit-and-run driver in the clouds.

It's always good to get an outsider's perspective on your extended family. In-laws are especially good for this role. John's first thought about the yearly Moyer family reunion was that it's the only place where you can see cape dresses and Harley Davidson T-shirts conversing together in the same room. I hadn't ever thought of it before, but he's right. And then there are the Bauman's. The in-laws on this side of the family came to the conclusion that Bauman's are not only lacking in the gluteus maximus area but they also have a small divit, conceivably handmade by God for a more comfortable placement of one's wallet in the back pant's pocket. It has even been suggested that we have T-shirts made with some type of catchy phrase like "No Butt Bauman" or "I'm a Bauman - no ifs, ands or butts" (my personal favorite).

Praises are often sung to the Bauman butt at the annual Labor Day camp-out. This yearly event finds any number of Bauman siblings and their offspring, and their offspring, converging on Uncle Carl's backyard. There was a time when 4 generations could be found sharing the backyard on Labor Day. Sadly, we are now down to three generations and the patriarch and matriarch are missed. This year our total number was somewhere around 30+, a large number in and of itself, made even more amazing when one learns that approximately the same number of eligible relatives were not in attendance. (I can assure you that any attempt to compute the actual amount will result in someone being missed or extra persons being added. I can tell you from personal experience, however, that when it comes to daily life, such fine mathematical details are not only irrelevant but unneccessary. Let's just say that the Bauman's are a very prolific group and leave it at that.) We come from far and wide; from such exotic places as Virginia and Indiana, Lancaster and Souderton. And if that's not exotic enough for you, one year brought relatives from Hawaii (relatives who have since decided that Ohio is more exotic than any of the above locations).

You have to understand that while this yearly event is called a camp-out, it bears very little resemblance to the actual practice of camping out. Camping enthusiasts may even want to end their reading at this juncture so they are not sickened by our dismemberment of the camping process. We do sleep in pop-up campers and tents. Well, some of us do. Some sleep on cushy mattresses in the back of their vans. Some sleep in Uncle Carl's house, on beds. Some go to their own beds, in their own houses. But because Uncle Carl's backyard looks like some form of tent city with all of the proper-looking equipment, we can call it camping. Of course the (illegal) fire and evening s'mores make it close to real camping as well. Other than that, well, let's just say we all use the indoor plumbing and meals are cooked in the kitchen or on grills, not over an open fire. It works better that way. Although, one third-generation Bauman camper did decide to use the corner of his family's tent as a urinal. You know, we laughed as his mother had to deal with this situation but upon pondering this more fully, I believe he was just trying to get the whole camping experience which we have denied him all these years. He may be onto something here. If it's too hot, we bring in industrial-sized fans to cool down the party tent erected for game playing and meals. If the Phillies are on, we go inside to enjoy the flat-screen TV. You get the picture.

This year's fine camp-out was succinctly summed up by Cousin-in-law Matt's Facebook post: "Matt Johndrow ‎@ the Bauman family gathering! Ribs from the grill, Smores around the fire, fireworks, sleeping in the tent on a 45 degree night, drunk driver crashing into the neighbors house at 3 am, pancakes for breakfast and Carl setting the grass on fire and Rob dashing in to save the day.....expectations for the weekend have been met!" Immediately, comments came in from Bauman descendants all over the world, needing more information about this weekend's events. And they are smart individuals indeed who need more details for this family knows how to create adventure. It is within the Bauman clan where grandparents run go-carts up exterior house walls. It is at the Labor Day camp-out where the Bauman's have been known to weather hurricane-force winds and electrical storms by holding onto the METAL posts of the party tent while singing "Nearer My God to Thee" and "Arky, Arky." The reason? No one wanted the tent to blow over or we'd have to help set it back up before dinner (and it made for some good video footage, too). It is the Bauman's who allow youngsters to ride all number of 2- and 4-wheeled vehicles but then have to smile and turn the other way when said vehicles are plowed into one's prized Mustang, parked in one's own driveway. It is at the Bauman camp-out where we willingly take in-laws to the emergency room when attempts to ride those vehicles turn bad. Very bad.

So, for all those Bauman's far and wide who are waiting with baited breath to find out the truth about this year's events, I will gladly fill you in on the details of the drunk driver, fire, and heroic rescue. About the pancakes, you'll have to ask Matt. The only explanation I have is that they do not have pancakes in Virgina and that is why he was so excited about pancakes for breakfast. Or maybe they only eat pancakes for dinner in that hallowed land. Or maybe it's his wife who has never before prepared pancakes for him. He'll have to ask his mother-in-law to make them for him more often. But then he might not get his pretzel salad as often and that would be sad. Now, on to the story. . .

Sunday evening found us all gathered around the campfire, enjoying our s'mores and homemade rootbeer. Unbeknownst to us, Aunt Ellen made a mistake when mixing this year's rootbeer and family members were becoming drunker as the evening wore on. Deciding that enough was enough, we decided to hit the hay as they say and each person staggered to his or her own tent. About 3:00 AM some of us were awakened to the sound of a car alarm. It appears as if one of the cousins (who shall remain nameless), had left his tent and still drunk, entered the kids' battery operated Corvette. Not needing a key to start the engine and heedless of his inebriated state, he put the pedal to the metal and promptly ran that little car into the battery operated Mustang parked on the other side of the driveway. The impact caused the alarm on Uncle Glenn's car to go off, waking up the whole crew. Wracked as they were with homemade rootbeer induced hang-overs, most stayed in their sleeping bags, frantically attempting to locate the alarm clocks they mistakenly assumed were producing the obnoxious noise. Uncle Carl, however, managed to stumble out of bed and was able to help the arriving police officers in their efforts to locate the cousin who by that time had fled the scene, an apparent hit and run. In the morning, by this point already addicted to the erroneously concocted rootbeer, the members of the Bauman clan all chugged more bottles of the stuff with the already-mentioned famous "pancakes for breakfast." In the heat of the day, a very inebriated Uncle Carl decided he wanted to get that campfire going again so he piled on the remains of his old pool deck. He also wanted to see if a cup of water placed on a roaring fire would have the same result as one placed in a regular-sized campfire, a small variation on the annual experiment. While chatting, it was soon discovered that even though the cup would not burn below the level of the water, the lawn was on fire. The possibility of placing a cup of water on the lawn fire, to see if it would have the same outcome was discussed but was quickly thrown out. Meanwhile, cousin-in-law Rob who had refrained from the rootbeer so that we would have a designated driver in the likely event that there was a need to head to the ER, not only kept his wits about him but heroically pulled a tent spike out of the ground, punctured the side wall of the above-ground pool and allowed the gushing water to extinguish the smoldering lawn, all while the rest of us sat under the well-protected and shady party tent and discussed the fire and the events as they unfolded. We did consider donning bathing suits and swimming in the former backyard which had now become a lake of pool water but knowing that drinking and swimming do not mix, we played Coffeepot instead.

And if you believe that, I have a Bauman Butt Glut Creator to sell you. For just 3 easy installments of $19.99 a month you too can have a beautiful Bauman butt, complete with wallet pocket.

If, unlike me, you prefer the boring truth, here's your version:

Part 1: At about 3:00 AM some of us were awakened by a screech, some by a thud, and some by an obnoxious car alarm (it is true that some people thought their alarm clocks were going off for work). Apparently a drunk driver missed the curve on the road in front of the house and ended up going through the neighbor's hedge, stopping just feet from their house. Deciding that his best course of action was to leave the engine running, exit the car, lock the doors, and hide, the alarm was caused when police officers tried to enter his vacant and still-running car. Mr. Drunk Guy was finally found and the car alarm was silenced. End of Boring Story Part 1.

Part 2: On Monday afternoon Uncle Carl did decide that he wanted to get rid of more of his old deck wood so he piled it higher and higher on the fire. Suddenly the lawn caught on fire. While most of us yelled, "Fire!", sat back to watch the action and discuss the advancing flames, Rob grabbed a trashcan, emptied out the garbage, filled it with water from the pool, and doused the flames. End of Story.

I don't know about you, but I'm already looking forward to more action next year.

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