Sam the squirrel knew that this day was going to be a good one. Even though winter had begun to blow in hard with brutal early morning temperatures, Sam knew that this day was in line. He climbed down from his warm bed of leaves that was nice and high off the ground, and made his way down the tree to the forest floor. Oh, if only he knew what his day had in store for him.
Meanwhile, sleepy-eyed and still wondering why they were in twenty-degree weather at ten in the morning on a Sunday, Lee, Jason, and myself were lumbering through campus towards Burrus. After explaining to Jason that we could walk through Burrus instead of having to go around, we met up with Bob, Becky, Morgan, Nikki and Chris. Of course, some people decided not to come (those in their right minds), but after a few phone calls to make sure, we were on our way. Becky, Jason, Nikki and Chris manned one car; the remaining three of us rode with the president himself.
For those of you who have never ridden in a car driven by a caver, the closest analogy I can give is one of those crazy tea cup rides at Disney World; especially in the hills of western Virginia. Taking twenty five mph corners at sixty is normal with Bob. But let me cut to the chase…Let us revisit our friend Sam.
Many of you may be wondering why this particular day was going to be so good for Sam. Well, the truth is, Sam was in love. He had met a cute female squirrel named Sally, and she lived across the road from him, and today he was going to propose to her the idea of mating. So he set out to find her. He was so excited he couldn’t even think straight. What if she said yes? What if no? He didn’t even know how he was going to ask her. All he knew was that he was in love. Life for him was just about to begi-
“Holy $hit Bob, you just annihilated that squirrel.”
So that’s how our day started out, with the murder of a love struck squirrel. As we arrived, it had just started to snow fairly decently, and we all stripped down and put on our cave attire, and started the long trek towards Breathing Cave. This was my first time at Breathing, and for those of you who have never gone, I highly suggest it, it has moved up to my favorite. The entrance is huge, and FULL of dead leaves, the descent in is really fun. So we were in, and things had just begun.
We got through the first crawl and came to a room with literally over two hundred bats. There were bats hanging off bats; it was crazy. Further into the cave, a hole no less than forty feet down. The only way down was to shimmy between popcorn covered walls. Sounds like fun eh? Well, to maniac cavers like Chris this was child’s play. He was down it in, I believe eight seconds, with Morgan and Bob close behind. I was on my way down, cursing like a sailor when I hear from below me, “Turn around, there isn’t much down here.” Back up we went, all cursing like sailors.
The remainder of the cave was fun, but not too eventful until Jason was attacked. I don’t know if anyone knows exactly what happened except Jason and the bat, but we sure did laugh. If you see him, ask him about it, ‘cause he can tell it better than I can, but it was something to do with a bat flying straight at his face and sharply turning upward at the last second, long after Jason had already pissed his pants and nearly fallen over. The sound that was most shocking was Morgan’s laugh. For all we knew, Jason’s arm could’ve been torn off, his leg could have been broken, or one of those creepy bat creatures from The Descent could’ve pulled him into the abyss; Morgan still would’ve laughed.
So we were on the way out. This is where MUSG scored its second point of the day, and this time it was a little bat. Apparently this happens often, but none the less, we snatched the life of a little brown bat, with no leaving words except, “Make sure we know where we left him so we can see how much he has decayed when we come back.” (We really aren’t cold-blooded killers) Anyway, the team exited laughing and shivering from the frigid air and made its way back to the cars that awaited them.
Applebee’s was the restaurant of choice to quiet the rumble of everyone’s bellies, so we flew around steep corners and (I swear we scraped the guardrail at least once) headed back towards Harrisonburg. Unfortunately, Becky couldn’t join us, so it was the seven of us, and I think just as many others, dining in Applebee’s that fine Super Bowl evening.
“What have you guys been up to tonight?” the host asked Bob as we came through the door.
But the meal was delicious, and we laughed and watched Prince strut around the stage while we sat, warm and content in America’s neighborhood restaurant. All in all a very worthy Sunday.
P.S. A few words of wisdom in leaving:
1.) Don’t order a “kiwi lemonade” at a restaurant if you’re a guy.