“We’ve got more of everything bad since the [heat] wave started. It’s the crisis atmosphere. People dress different, feel different, sweat more. They wake up cranky and they never recover. . . . Things are just a little askew. Pretty soon people think the old rules aren’t in effect.”

Lawrence Kasdan, “Body Heat” (1981)

When it’s this hot, the thermometer doesn’t even tell the entire story.  You feel it in your soul as wave after wave of heat saps the very strength from your fragile body.

These are the dogs days of Michigan summer, plain and simple.  These are the days we dream about when its twenty below, and winter winds are battering us with unrelenting cold.  And yet when they arrive, they are met with all the furor we reserve only for a treasured mother-in-law.

Everywhere we looked, we spied people hiding from the sun’s unrelenting gaze.  Many eyes peeked out from the shadows as customers scrambled to grab up all the shade they could find.

The Tiki bar is open, and the girls are hot.  (In both a good and bad way).  The sun is un-merciless today; and although its currently ninety-six  degrees, there are other fireworks on the way.

According to everyone’s radar, there’s a big storm looming.

We begin at Bumper’s Landing around six O’clock on these summer days, and just about an hour into our afternoon, we apparently are going to have an unruly guest appear.

It won’t break up the party though.  If we know one thing from all the dates we have entertained here, we know how the boaters will react to a big storm: they’ll just shrug it off and move the party inside.

So the set-up was slow and easy.  We took lots of time and talked with just about anyone who had input on the decision to either be inside or out and decided to start outside and then move in ahead of the rain.

Easy to say, but a lot more difficult to actually pull off.

To be honest, the first part of the night was all blur.  I remember vividly arriving and canvasing the powers that be for their input on playing inside or out.  After that, it all escalated pretty quickly.

We played the first set, beginning with a very apropos selection: Trying To Reason With Hurricane Season, by the contemporary master of leisure, Jimmy Buffett.

Squalls out on the gulf stream
Big storm commin’ soon
Passed out in my hammock
God, I slept till way past noon
Stood up and tried to focus
I hoped I wouldn’t have to move far
Sure could use a bloody mary
So I stumbled over to Loui’s back yard

Storms come and go in everyone’s lives.  It’s how we deal with them that defines who we are.  Carl and I have been around boaters for five years now, and have tried to learn a thing or two from them.  How to maintain an even keel.  How to drink all day.  (ok, so we might have already known that one.). How to not let anything bother you.  We are getting thee hang of it, I believe and maybe one day will be “honorary” boaters, at the very least.

As the Strom approached from the West, we had lookouts watching its’ every move.  We timed our first break accordingly, and as it happened, just in the knick of time.

The winds picked up and so did it’s urging to move our location to a dryer local.  With a little help from our friends, we gather all of our equipment and skedaddled into the bar.

Just in time as the heavens opened up and let us know once again who was really in charge.

Since the rain scattered everyone all at once it was a little bit chaotic inside, as the wet floor and band gear, coupled with all of the people outside trying to be inside at the same time, made for quite the maneuver.

Inside is always a challenge, as there is really no space for us, so to speak.  With equipment all over the wet floor, and people milling about, oblivious to what we needed to get done, it was a formidable challenge to re-setting up.

In twenty minutes, we were ready to play.  Everyone was now settled back in with their favorite food and drink, and ready for more entertainment.

Our music then was more up-tempo and direct as it was suddenly clear what our intentions were for the evening.  We were staying put inside, and cranking up the eleven on the party-meter.

Safe from the storm, it was now time to unload.  Carl and I blasted song after song as the enthusiastic crowd soaked in the musical goodness.

There were lots of friendly faces, and even more who were new to our sound.

During our next break we received lots and lots of kind words and plenty of musical suggestions.  I met a very nice family who had dinner at The Crews Inn next door, heard the music and stopped in for a set to just listen to us.  It was a wonderful moment, as they took time to listen and thank us both for the enjoyable music.

Sometimes kind words like that can make you feel musically, one hundred feet tall.

At ten O’clock it was up to us to let everything loose for the last set of the night.

We started with Tom Petty, Kenny Chesney and Dion, and reached deep into our songfest of dance tunes for the rest of the classic oldies.

As eleven rolled around it was evident by the packed dance floor that we weren’t stopping any time soon.  The hits kept on coming until all our requests had been played except one.

For our final encore on the sweltering summer evening, we played a very special requested, Beatles song that had just the right vibe to put the finishing touches on this long, wild day.

However, as the last notes of Hey Jude reverberates down the river, there were more fireworks that were to explode inside the bar.

A scuffle broke out as the heat did its job of making reason unreasonable, just when the night was and should have ended admirably.

It was soon sorted out of course by the amazing staff and security that keep Bumper’s the destination on the water that it has become.  Time to pack up, say goodnight to friends and look forward to the next time we all gathered to pay homage to the summer sun.

It’s difficult to blame the temperature for any craziness that happens there.  It’s not the heat, or cold or moon or tides or gravitational pull of the cosmos.

It’s just Bumper’s Landing.

A place where most of the time, rules are not in effect.  (In a very good way!)


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