Decisions by Robert Roule
We’ve all had those moments when we slapped our foreheads and thought, “Gee, I could have had a bloody Mary.”
We’re constantly making decisions, some of which turn out to be not so good. Rarely are these decisions life altering and if they are, we have no way of knowing what the outcome would have been if we taken choice B instead of choice A.
My wife, son, another couple and I were rock hounding at Franklin, N.J., many moons ago. Franklin sits in the 200-or-so acres of New Jersey that is pretty. It’s also an area with a lot of fluorescent minerals and many homes have chimneys built of the fluorescent rocks and are lighted with black light at night. The effect is quite striking as the minerals fluoresce in different colors. Our party wasn’t looking for fluorescent minerals; we were looking for
rhodocrosite crystals. Rhodocrosite is a manganese carbonite mineral that forms a pink to deep rose cube crystal.
Aside of their beauty, the crystals are worth quite a bit of money — not in the diamond or emerald class, but certainly not chump change. We spent a goodly portion of a Fourth of July scouring the tailings of a zinc mine for crystals. The temperature was flirting with the 100 degree mark and we were all covered in sweat and a fine dusting of zinc and whatever else was mixed in with the tailings.
When we’re rock hounding, we tent camp and after that night’s supper and more than a few beers, it was time to head to the shower house and get rid of the day’s grime.
The campground was very modern with ample showers, each equipped with a coin-fed meter for water. What? Pay for water. Never! (Bad decision No. 1) So, I, still covered
in grime, headed back to the campsite feeling quite smug that I had saved somewhere between 50 and 75 cents.
Lying in our tent later that night, I heard the “pitter patter” of raindrops falling on canvas. I stuck head and hand through the tent’s flap and discovered the rain was quite warm. An idea was born. I decided that I would use the rain to wash in. (Bad decision No. 2) So with a wash cloth and bar of soap in hand, I stepped into the gently falling rain. I
worked up a good soapy lather in hair, on face and upper body.
Now German philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche said that whenever we have an idea or a plan, we also sow the seeds of destruction for that plan or idea. You know, you plan a picnic and it rains. So, too, did the seeds of destruction enter into my “free” shower. Yep! As soon as I was covered in soapy lather, it stopped raining.
It was decision time again. Either I let the soap dry and forget about a shower, or I fork out the coins and use the campground’s facilities. So with coins in hand and vowing to keep my cheap streak in check, I headed for the showers.
We never did find any rhodocrosite crystals, but we did come away with a lot of happy memories. And, if any other camper had per chance to view my folly, I hope he or she is still laughing at the soap covered visage begging for the rain to resume.