We took vacations to Fort Bragg each year and the highlight of our stay was when I would start a water fight with all the kids! I believe it was the summer of 1988, The Cummins’ and five other families set camp up at MacKerricher State Park. I came down with the flu the day before we left, so the parents of the kids had to tell them all that Mark was off-limits and not to get him wet. This really bummed the kids out because I was always the person they loved to douse with water balloons! There were so many times during the day that I would hear one of the parents say “don’t you dare, he’s still sick”. I believe this was even harder on me because I loved throwing that first balloon. The kids always had water balloons stashed everywhere so I always made sure I had a good stash hiding someplace. We were there for five days, and I was still sick. The kids were all moping around the camp site, but the rule was still in place “do not get Mark wet!”
On the sixth day we had packed everything up and were all ready to leave. I was still sick, but all the kids had such a pathetic look on their faces, so I got a balloon out of my stash and put it in my pocket, then I walked over to where the kids were standing, pulled the balloon out of my pocket and smashed it over Tyler Drake’s head! Within seconds there were balloons flying in all directions, and I was soaked to the bone. I ran for my stash, and on the way some of the fathers started handing me balloons. My buddy Jeff started helping me lob the balloons at the kids, but the kids had way too much ammunition, and me and Jeff, the older guys, kept getting wetter and wetter. All the while Karen Scott was videotaping the water fight. It shows me hiding behind my truck trying to catch my breath and coughing up a lung. I would load up with balloons, then run back in the line of fire and try to get one of the kids wet. The kids got the best of Jeff and me, but the two of us still got in some pretty good shots. We then had to bring out the white flag!
On our way out of the park we decided to stop by the Glass Beach where the water fight continued. The boys were at the top of the cliff above the beach lobbing balloons down, getting everyone wet! Just as I ran out of balloons, Jim Drake invented a reloading method that proved to be quite ingenious! He filled a coke bottle up with ocean water, put the balloon over the bottle, turned it upside down and filled the balloons. However it was a very slow process, so the kids got bored and came down to the beach. Colby Drake tried to hit me with a balloon, he missed and it hit the ground, splashing all over my daughter Sarah’s back as she sat stirring through the glass pebbles. “I’m going to kill you Colby” she screamed as she ran after him! Later the boys and I were standing on a big rock on the edge of the ocean when a little guy threw a balloon right at me. As it made contact it careened off me and broke on Tyler Drake! Even thou I was sick, this is still one of my favorite camping moments!