Wednesday, November 07, 2012

A Place to Get Away

Do you ever feel that urging need to escape from reality? Me either, but I've heard some people do.
I did get a chance to escape a couple of weeks ago. I have some friends who own a 1,500-acre ranch in Dewey County Oklahoma, right outside the thriving metropolis of Camargo. According to the 2010 Census, the town of Camargo has approximately 178 inhabitants, not including a couple of birddogs, 14 chickens, a Baptist squirrel and something called a chiweenie.

We were invited to the ranch for our friends' birthday bash. They are brother and sister. My wife has known this family since she was knee-high to a grasshopper and all of us went to high school together. They have a party every year to celebrate their birthdays, which are just a few days apart in September. This year about 50 people were invited to the festivities. I think about 40 actually showed up, including some who weren't necessarily "invited" but in a town of 178 people they needed something to do on a Friday and Saturday night.

The event was well-planned with scheduled wine and brie tastings, a morning brunch, tea in the afternoon, followed each evening with a seven-course gourmet meal with music from the Greater Dewey County Orchestra and Glee Club.

Haha. Just kidding.

There were a lot of events, most of which you can't talk about in a family publication, but eating brie and sipping wine were not on the agenda.

We had a great time, got very little sleep and all felt a little bit better after the weekend — for some of those in attendance, it took three or four days before they started feeling better, but still. In attendance were a wide variety of folks — doctors, lawyers, accountants, builders, salesmen, CEOs and me. It was a perfect opportunity for celebration, fellowship and debauchery.

The really cool thing was people of all ranks and job descriptions, everyone could come together, let their hair down and do things they may or may not do in other every day settings. No paparazzi. No judging eyes. No worries. No stress. There were lots of pictures taken, but most will never be shown to the general population. It's a shame really.

Now for me, my life is sort of an open book. I learned a long time ago that you can't please everybody, so I stopped trying. If I can make my family and most of my friends happy, I'm good. But, from what I hear, there are people out there who really do care what other people think.

There was an interesting case this week with the royal family over there in the United States of Britain or whatever it's called. It seems Prince William and Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, were trying to get away for a little vacation somewhere away from all the pomp and circumstance of royalty. They were out in the countryside, thinking they were alone and kind of letting their guard down. Unfortunately, a couple a hundred yards away was a photographer armed with a super long tele-photo lens. A few shutter clicks later, he had dozens of blurry revealing photos of a the Duchess. The royal family went into damage control immediately. There is no way a royal can be seen "out of uniform" in a magazine. They have reputations to uphold. They have people to please. They have a modicum of decency that must be kept (where do I come up with these words).

The royal family doesn't have a place to escape, to let their hair down to be somebody besides a member of the royal family. What a bummer.

Sometimes it seems, we live in sort of a divided world. No matter what we do, it's gonna make about half the population mad. I don't really believe that, however. I think it's more like about 20 percent of the population living at one extreme or the other. The other 80 percent of us really just want to live our lives and let others do the same. But those 20 percent, when provoked, can be very vocal and persuasive.

Most people, especially those with high-profile positions, really do spend a great deal of time in fear of the 20 percent. "I can't do that because what will people think?" permeates their thoughts. They spend their lives wrapped up in "what if?" instead of living a life of "watch this."

I feel bad for those folks.

I'm glad that at least some of the people at our ranch party found a way to have a good time without being bogged down with the worries of what others will think. I bet it was very healing, freeing, emancipating (there I go again). I wished everybody had a ranch.

But until we all find 1,500 acres or so to hang out on, I guess we will just have to avoid eye contact at the liquor store.

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