Issues pertaining to the missing city of Philville—a tannish, mid-sized, dome tent that housed my nephew (Phil, of Philville fame) and son in the mountains of PA and the rainy wilderness of Maine during the summer of ’08—consumed the first leg of our trip to Creation 09. My sister had generously offered Philville to us on loan when an episode of frenzied, pre-trip planning revealed a shortage tent housing in my own jurisdiction. So I left my house with tents for my husband, daughter, and myself, and drove to my sister’s house to pick up my son and bonus son (who’d spent the night at her house), and Philville to shelter them.
Moments before pulling out of the driveway, however, it became apparent that Philville had gone the way of Atlantis. A quick recap of last summer yielded a scant lead or two, but no hard evidence of Philville’s current status. At present, the fate of Philville remains unknown.
In the interest of time and replenishing our own stock of tents, we decided to pick up a new one enroute. Unfortunately, our pastoral path offered us few options for wilderness outfitting. Our TomTom GPS system assured us that if we overshot our destination by a full 11 miles, we’d arrive at a Wal-Mart where we could certainly hope to resolve our equipment deficiencies. I was immediately skeptical, as our GPS has failed us so often as to have lost credibility with even my longsuffering husband, which is saying quite a bit. Having dumped us repeatedly at the doorsteps of homes billed as Dunkin Donuts and vacant lots bearing no resemblance to desired destinations, my husband has even silenced the system’s sound, using it as sort of a backup directory of suggestions, rather than the voice of authority.
True to form, TomTom guided us to a dilapidated stoop in the heart of a hick burg where we were momentarily buoyed by the sight of a familiar department store sign. OK, so what if it was a Sears instead of a Wal Mart—no matter, we thought, until we stepped into the a one-room showroom not appreciatively larger than the lower floor of my home. In stock were a handful of tools and a state of the art washer and dryer combo, but nothing of apparent use in the field. After equally low-yielding forays into dollar and hardware establishments, the boys waxed grim.
Fortunately, as a child, my husband read a how-to book about tent construction, and was able to formulate a plan C involving some tarps, twine, and a tie-in to our rain shelter. The breezy lean-to that resulted actually kept the boys dry during one of the two storms we encountered, but I’ve gotten ahead of myself.
The hours lost in pursuit of basic shelter caused my prospects for hoped-for press conferences with Relient K and Skillet to go as damp as the boys’ post storm two accommodations, but there I go again on fast forward.
I eventually checked in at the on-site media trailer only to discover that I hadn’t missed any press conferences. In fact, even if our quest for shelter had taken all weekend, I wouldn’t have missed a single one. Why? Because there weren’t any press conferences scheduled for Creation 09. According to a memo I never received, the long-standing press-conference formula was replaced by pre-arranged interviews, of which I had none.
Friendly, fast-acting staff assured me that all was not lost. Although I had no hope of face time with any of the headliners—no follow-up on my mid-00’s Relient K spread in YS this year—I just might be able to speak with some up-and-comers. An up-and-comer myself, I decided that this was a fine idea, especially as I’d be getting exclusive material. I ended up with highly publishable interviews with newly minted Goatee recording artist Stephanie Smith, and The Sunflowerz, a chick-duo from Colorado.
Of course Regular Readers inclined toward the mathematical arts will likely note that two interviews falls short of the six stories I hoped to glean from the event, but I’m OK with that, especially as I may be able to parlay the material into multiple articles with varying angles.
And the boys? Even though their shelter was eventually blown asunder in a swift Friday storm that left them camping in the van, I don't think they'd have traded the experience even if TomTom himself managed to guide us straight to Philville.