Memory: Naked Cards

As seen in our July 13, 2023 Newsletter – Subscribe Here

While the core group of guys has always been pretty much the same, having a new guy come each year seems to be pretty common. We have personally decided that six guys is about the perfect size. It is the best for playing most poker games, and it leaves no one with out a partner on the river. If you get much bigger, it gets hard to have a meaningful conversation with everyone during the weekend, and if you go too small, the conversations may get too deep. Ah! Who we kidding. We love it deep.

A few years back, in an attempt to keep the legend of GFW alive, “The Board” decided to invite a few young guys up to hopefully, carry the torch in the future. If they came in and got along with the crew, grew some meaningful bonds, maybe one day the GFW weekend could be passed down to great grandkids. The two chosen younger guys were a couple of my buddies from college. We had all recently graduated, and I had already been coming for 6+ years. This was their maiden voyage. For some reason I can’t remember now, they drove up by themselves. And were late.

Pro Life Tip: Don’t be late.

It was about 9pm on the first night of GFW, and the card game was going full force. We typically get to the cabin around 4pm. We unpack, settle in, jello wrestle for beds and start making dinner. To be fair, I am pretty sure the beers started as the car was placed in “P”, and I will plead the fifth if in years long past, road sodas were consumed. I am eight years sober now, so the statute of limitations has passed.

By nine o’clock we were full. We had tied one on. And our jokes, seemingly, kept getting funnier.

Phone rings, and it is the caboose crew. They are pulling in to town, are going to stop to grab a pack of smokes and some Cope and then make the last ascent, “Be there in 15.”

We carried on with playing poker, and the guys started asking questions about these newbies. “Are we going to like them?” “Are they funny?” “Do they even know how to fish?” Yes, yes, and kind of. It was too late for reservations, as they were 15 minutes away. But then I came up with an idea to see if they truly “belonged,” or if they just would turn around and make the four hour drive back home from being too freaked out.

“You know what would be funny,” I said. “What if we were all in here playing strip poker when they came in?”

At first blush, it was 50/50 at best. Some loved it, some weren’t all that interested. And silence ensued. For 30 seconds you could hear a pin drop. But then one guy, clearly like he had been playing through the scenarios in his head, burst out with laughter and started listing off ideas of funny activities to be doing naked when they walked in.

“What if I was just kneeling over here, lacing up my sneakers like I was about to go out for a run.”

“What if you were over there doing push ups?”

“You could be reading the newspaper.”

We went round in circles listing off funnier and funnier things. Everyone was on board, and the prank ideas grew with complexity. Now it was time to get a plan.

The place somewhat set up perfectly for the trap. When you came in the front door, you had to walk past the entry way half bath and down a long hallway, where we placed the beer cooler. It opened into the kitchen with a large island that obstructed the view of the dining room table… where we would be sitting, playing cards… Naked. It was perfect, because you had to commit to being in the cabin. No peaking in through the windows, creeper style. You had to walk all the way in to see who you recognized. And I, personally, was the only one they really knew.

The best part of all was the entry way bathroom. It is where I would be hiding when they walked in.

The rest of the guys were going to play cards, and not break character until the last second. Let the uncomfortableness seep in as long as possible. The goal was to elicit the “Ok guys, that was funny. Wait you are serious?” reaction. That is when we knew the hook would be set, and lore of GFW’s past would be written.

Knock, Knock. “Come In!”

Down the hallway they marched; through the crack in the door, I saw them pass with gear in hand, making that shuffling noise when you are overburdened and struggling, carrying too much stuff to avoid another trip to the car. They weren’t going to be running out of here. Soak it in boys!

A muffled, “WTF” came out of one buddy, Stuper’s, mouth. Followed quickly by “Sorry, we have the wrong place.”

That was my cue.

I strolled out of the bathroom, proud of my birthday suit, patted them both on the back and said, “Grab a beer! You can throw your stuff over there.”

Sheet white laughter erupted from both of them. “Uhhh… haha!”

Another guy says, “Grab a chair, we can deal you in on the next hand. Buy in is 5 bucks.”

They followed instructions, and their uncomfortable laughter was hilarious. The guys played their parts well, and after a minute the reveal came, “We’re just effing with you! Welcome to GFW!” and got dressed.

This story is one that makes its way back to the GFW trip every year. It was so good, upon Stuper’s return home, he shared the whole awkwardly funny story with his parents, and I was lucky enough to relive it every year I spent with him and his family on their annual ski trip. I am sure it makes them chuckle to this day.

I know we sure love it.

RIP Stuper. Miss you brother.

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