You have won second prize in a beauty contest! Collect $1

Last week was our annual trip to Fern Resort, and this is my annual blog entry about it. Here is last year’s entry. The unusual title of this article (rather than “Fern 2010”) may make it harder to find, but its meaning will become clear later on. As usual, we went with our friends the Wadsworths, Wildeys, and Marshalls, and everyone had a great time. We’re not exactly “set in our ways” quite yet, but there are a number of traditions that we have started to follow at Fern:

  • we always meet up with the Wadsworths for lunch at Harvey’s on the 400 at the Cookstown Outlet Mall on our way to Fern, and we always eat at Arby’s in Orillia on the way home.
  • Jeff and I (and usually Jerry) have a Caesar at dinner most nights.
  • We always have two tables in the dining room, and we put the kids at one table and the adults at another.
  • Gail and Kerri always get pedicures at the spa, though I think they’re reconsidering that for next year.
  • Jeff and I head over to Mary Lou’s at least one night during the week after the kids are in bed (my kids, anyway – his stay up later but sleep in) to play pool and enjoy a couple of Alexander Keith’s.
  • We always go to see Jamie Williams when he plays. He puts on a fantastic show.
  • The boys love to play bingo so we end up playing at least once every day. This year I won twice, Gail and Ryan each won once, and Nicky was very disappointed that he didn’t win at all.

One of my goals for this week, given my recent health issues, was to be able to participate in the activities I wanted to without having to tell anyone about said issues. I didn’t want to go to the beach volleyball or tennis court and have to leave after five minutes because I couldn’t play. With one exception, I was able to do that. I played beach volleyball, water volleyball, tennis a couple of times, golf, “mushball”, rode the pedal carts around the forest trails, and swam with Ryan for a little while. The one exception was the climbing wall. Before I started I told the people running it that I had had surgery a few months ago and wasn’t sure how strong I was. I managed to make it about 1/3 of the way to the top before I lost confidence in my strength and decided to come back down. Nicky made it to about the same place as me, and Ryan zipped to the top. Both the boys tried (and completed) the “vertical playground”, a climbing obstacle course with rope ladders and tires and stuff. I didn’t try that one.

On Tuesday night, they had a new thing called Retro Night, which was quite innovative. They went through the 60’s, 70’s, 80’s, and 90’s and played music from each decade. There were group participation events and the winners got special Retro Night money, similar to Canadian Tire money. There were four denominations, each with pictures of a different “icon”: $1 (Darth Vader), 75c (Madonna), 50c (Jimi Hendrix), and 25c (Elvis). With the money, you could play various games where you could win more money, or you could buy candy, snacks, or root beer floats (yum – I had two). They had various dance events including the twist and the macarena and all participants got $1. They had a hula hoop event, where anyone who wanted to could try a hula hoop for 30 seconds, and they’d give you $1 just for trying. There were trivia questions and the first person to shout out the answer won $1. There were games like Twister, bean bag toss, and knocking down milk bottles, and you could win money that way too. It was a very neat idea, and lots of fun for everybody.

One of the highlights of the evening, for everyone else anyway, was the a particular contest. The host said that they were looking for three dads to volunteer for a contest, without saying the name of the contest or what it was about. Gail said that it looked like a trivia contest and that I should definitely get up there so I volunteered. Bad move. He announced the name of the contest – they were looking for Mr. Fern 2010, and at that point I wished I’d had a couple more Caesars at dinner. (Jeff came up to me after it was all over and asked “Did you learn anything from all this?” I answered “Yes – don’t put your hand up when they ask for volunteers”.) We had three tasks to perform and audience applause at the end would decide the winner. The first was a disco dance contest. I went second, and waved over to Ryan and Nicky to join me. Nicky declined but thank god Ryan came up and danced with me or I would have… um… looked silly. Never mind.

The second event was something I’d never seen before. We had to take a mouthful of water then tip our heads back and sing the chorus of Rock ‘n Roll All Nite by Kiss. The first guy mainly spit the water all over himself and made some random sounds. I got the hang of it after a few seconds but kept choking on the water. The third guy nailed it – you could understand the words and everything. The third event was an air guitar contest. The first guy did pretty well, then as I took the stage, Gail mimed smashing the guitar a la Pete Townshend, so I did some standard air guitar, played it with my teeth and behind my head, then started smashing it on the floor to great applause. At the end, the crowd voted with their applause and thanks to my friends and family yelling as loud as they could for me, I came in second. The guy that won definitely deserved it though – he did really well at all three events. But for all that public humiliation, I was awarded one Retro Night dollar. Nicky did the macarena in the middle a huge crowd of other people doing the macarena, and he also earned one Retro Night dollar. One of us got seriously ripped off.


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