I didn’t sleep well at all last night. The last few bands that played seemed exceptionally loud — the sound carried up the hill to our campsite much more than in previous nights. Perhaps that’s because so many people have already left and there weren’t as many bodies and tents to absorb the sound. Chef and I pretended they were singing us lullabies, but they weren’t at all soothing. Also, the people in the site next to us were breaking camp late into the night, and they weren’t quiet about it. It took them a long time to get their van out of the mud, and they were jovial and gregarious as they took their tents down.
Finally, though, it gets quiet enough to sleep. But I wake early because I hear a group of people up very early, talking and laughing. I can’t tell if it’s the same group as last night, but I think so. Typically, I have been one of the first up in our camping area, so this is unusual. I think many will try to get an early start home today, as will we, so I might as well get up. I still feel so sleepy, though.
I put on my muddy shoes and walk to the porta-potties, which I think are now at their maximum capacity. When I’m finished, I make my way back to the site where gradually everyone wakes. We deflate air mattresses, collapse tents, and pack up food and belongings. We load up the car — Gina sits on the car carrier so Stephan and I can get it closed — and we’re off. The journey is quieter and sleepier than it was on Wednesday. Gina, KJ, DJ, and I doze off while Chef drives. Brilliant man that he is, Chef decides that breakfast at Cracker Barrel is exactly what we need. It takes us a while to get to the interstate, but when we do, we find a Cracker Barrel easily (thanks to the GPS) and take great pleasure in flush toilets, running water, and soap. Uncle Herschel’s Favorites all around (two eggs, grits, choice of meat (grilled catfish is the best!), and biscuits & gravy (though mine are better), and for me, a side of okra.) I feel so happy. I have wonderful food in my belly and I have given my hands a thorough washing for the first time in days. Marvelous.
We spend the rest of the trip playing an alphabet game. We arrive home and unpack the car (and Chris and Rachael, who are currently living with Chef and me, generously help clean the inside of our muddy, dirty car!) We move Gina’s things to her car, and they go on their way. I start a load of laundry, take a marvelous shower, and start to relax. Watching TV sounds like a perfect activity tonight, so I pop in a DVD and relax until it’s time for bed.
So, how was my first Cornerstone experience? Well, I didn’t care so much about the bands, but if I had it to do over, I would probably spend a little more time at the stages listening to music. Still, the camping and hanging out with friends and family were the best parts for me, and I would be just as happy to simply go camping. It’s cheaper and quieter. But if the family decides another year to take another trip to Cornerstone, I won’t complain, and I’ll probably go along.