We left behind crushed Cheese Nips in the carpet, a filthy ring around the tub, and several hundred dollars each. We took with us a weekend of fond memories of friendship and family to last a life time.
Put-in-bay, located a few miles off the north coast of Ohio in Lake Erie, is a summer resort that keeps the Mardi Gras spirit of French pirates alive all summer long. Every half hour the Jet Express and Millers ferry bring the fresh and full appetites of the young minded. People who have not had enough of loud music, cheep booze, and tight cloths on women in high school or college – my friends.
Here to continue the feudal times tradition of a knight crossing over to manhood, the bachelor and bachelorette arrive safely. After a barbeque dinner in front of the two condos we rented, the last of our party arrive to finish the last of the good beer. A short shuttle ride to the main street takes us to the first of several bars for the evening. First round of shots, singing “Oh Mickey” as loud as we can, we are ready to move on.
Live music at the Round House draws us in like the siren sounds of mermaids that ruined ships of Homer. Five dollar cover and expensive beer will not stand in the way of making it close to the stage of a packed room. There is little distance between us squeezing to a space by the bar. Some of the women from our crew are shanghaied by sailors while we get drinks. We hear a loud pirates “Yarr” only to turn and see they are gone.
We make our way to the Worlds Longest Bar at the end of the street with all the survivors. Cool breezes blow from over the lake as last call is announced. Lost members from the group find us a bit more relaxed under the flashing neon palm trees.
Saturday morning Jason and I are up early. We walk to town and rent the largest and fastest golf cart we can find. In minutes we are back at the condo ready to give rides. Two trips to town the crew is waiting for the Worlds Worst Service next to the Worlds Biggest Bar. After two hours we finally finish and split into two teams: those who have family obligations and those who tan. Not a part of either team I give tours of the island and explore in the speedy golf cart. Always a good neighbor, we pick up several hitchhikers and take them in to town from the Millers ferry.
Done with exploration the golf cart becomes a free shuttle for those intoxicated parents, liquored up children, and boozed up friends. The destination is the local winery. Two hours and fourteen wine bottles later the shuttle begins again. “Man down! We have a man down!” I quickly evacuate the groom to be and his future bride with a few close friends. “Watch your feet” is all they heard before the built up bile hit the ash fault. We had made it around the corner just in time – no witnesses.
Four trips between the winery and Frosts pizza later the entire party was now filling their belly’s with some of the greatest pizza Ohio has ever produced. “This is our song” I hear the sexiest of our female friends say as the Bon Jovi song begins. By the chorus “wanted dead or alive” reality bursts my ear drums as every single man, woman, and child sing the words out loud with great passion. It is not “our” song. It is “OUR” song.
The groom to be safe in his bed under the watchful eyes of his brother I return the cart and bring back pizza to the condo.
Reports from the night are sketchy in detail. At best I can tell that the sister in law of the brides maid did a better job beating the shit out of two drunks then any of the “men” I left to watch over for them. A few peeks at a few body parts happened by “mistake.” Several hundred dollars were spent on alcohol and everyone returned to the condos safely.
A quick nights rest, several trips to the dumpster with trash, and three vans full of passengers later we all said goodbye at the boat launch where we had met 48 hours earlier. We leave behind crushed Cheese Nips, tub scum, and most of our free cash for the month.
As a rule of thumb, the bachelor/ bachelorette party tends to reflect the way marriages go. For half of the awful bachelor events I have watched end with an ambulance driving off or hear the “one last fling” justification from a groomsman breaking his final vows, I have seen the early separations and devoices. Equally, for the great drunken fun fairs of innocent amusement, I have seen lasting love forged in friendship and family. With an afternoon of reflection on a side trip to Cleveland, I would have to say this weekend represented the later of the two. There should be nothing but happiness in their future.