One day last week, I wandered into the kitchen for my 8th cup of coffee around lunch time, and found Long Back Guy there. I mentioned I was going back to Wisconsin soon, and he shivered – violently, actually. “I am not so good with the cold,” he said, and proceeded to tell me a story of Thanksgiving.
“Long back, before I was married, on Thanksgiving holiday, me and some other Indian guys decide to go camping. Thanksgiving is nothing to us – we’re from India – it’s US holiday, but we get four day weekend, anyway. Camping seems like fun adventure! So, five of us, we choose to go to Grand Canyon. No idea that it would be cold. I mean REALLY cold. Twelve degree! Do you know how cold that is for Indian person?!” I smiled at the thought of it, excited to see where this story would go.
“Thing is, no one had any equipment. We didn’t know to get equipment. We had cheap, flimsy tent and nothing else. I was only one that brought warm sleeping bag. The rest had cheap, flimsy sleeping bag, too! It was so cold we could not get food to cook on fire. The heat couldn’t reach from the coals to the chicken. The cold took it away first!”
Now, I am laughing. I’ve worked with plenty of Indian guys, and I know how they tend to hang out in groups while they are single, and they really want to try all these American things, but they do them only with each other – so they have no idea what they’re getting themselves into. They are resourceful, though, as Long Back Guy’s story illustrates well.
“We ate by pouring Bacardi on chicken and touching coals so it would flame up. Over and over and this works to cook the chicken.”
Now, I’m hysterical. I am picturing these guys hunched over a tiny little baby fire that they can’t really get burning, dumping all their alcohol onto a few kabobs, turning them to charcoal in an attempt to get something edible out of it. They should have just drank the damn liquor – it would have kept them warmer!
“Eventually, we go to bed. It is so cold in the night, it is painful, and remember, I have good sleeping bag, but still it is so painful! I wake up in the middle of the night, maybe 3 am, and see one of my friends. He is sitting in the corner of the tent, legs crossed, hugging himself and rocking forward and back. I hear him mumbling out loud, saying something over and over. “What is wrong, man?” I ask. “I am going to die,” he says. “I am going to die in this cold, and I am praying to all the Gods to keep me from dying!””
Needless to say, no one died from the cold that night, but they certainly have a funny story to tell about their bachelor days when they were still new to America.