Many stories herein are subject to the faulty, and sometimes creative, memory of the blog owner and should not be taken as factual, although the names and events are real! Kind of.
Monday, November 03, 2008
Now I will Tell You a Secret
I came across this picture recently got to thinking about all the times our family has gone camping. It was a cheap vacation for a family with four kids. We had a lot of fun and certainly made a lot of memories. One memory in particular stands out in my mind....
I'm going to share something with you. I've not told this to very many people before. It's kind of embarrassing. I'm not even sure I should tell this but in the interest of truthfulness and soul-baring, I'm going to let you in on my deepest, darkest secret.
When my youngest sister was one or two, Dad and Mom decided we would go camping in the mountains for our family vacation and purchased a tent. It was made of heavy canvas and was green and yellow. It was purchased at an actual sporting goods store--not a discount store! That was back in the days before large 'everything in one place' stores. Back in the days before the brand 'Equate' came along.
We had a big old gold car with an enormous trunk and a huge backseat. A necessity with four kids and their assorted junk. My dad loaded up the tent and the Coleman camp stove and lantern. I think we even borrowed my grandparent's Coleman ice chest--we were a walking Coleman advertisement! He somehow managed to cram everything a family of six needs in the trunk of that car and didn't even use a rope to tie it shut! I do seem to remember that it took more than a time or two of repacking to get the right configuration for the gear! And perhaps a bit of "word play," if you know what I mean!
Are you still wanting to know my secret? Hint: It involves a tent. And mountains. And a sleeping bag and a rushing river.
At last. We see the mountains in the distance after traversing the entire (almost) length of the flat prairie of the Oklahoma Panhandle. A few hours later we are there (where ever 'there' was!) and we set up camp. All of us kids were excited to go swimming in the river--silly us--we didn't know that rivers in the Rockies are made of snow melt! After an invigorating (and extremely brief) swim, we were starving. Time for a campfire supper! And S'mores!
After a long day filled with the excitement of traveling, setting up a tent, swimming, and eating, we were at last ready to go to bed. We all crawled in our snug sleeping bags and one by one drifted off to sleep. Except me. I was too snug. We had borrowed my uncle's army-issue sleeping bag. It was a down mummy style bag. It was hot. It was cramped. I felt like... I felt like...I felt just like I was wrapped up like a mummy! My feet were trapped. I couldn't sprawl out. I was constricted and confined and WAS MORNING EVERY GOING TO GET HERE?????
At last I fell asleep. I was sleeping so well. But then I had a dream. A very curious dream. I dreamed I was going to the bathroom. And then I woke up. And it wasn't a dream. And I wasn't in a bathroom. I was still trapped in that dratted mummy sleeping bag. That was not only hot but also--dare I say it?--wet.....Oh dear.
So what's a girl to do? The sun was starting to rise. I could see the glow through the canvas sides of the tent. I looked furtively around at my family. Thankfully, everyone still appeared to be sleeping. So I wriggled my way out of that wet, horrid sleeping bag, grabbed my clothes and headed out the door. It is very hard to zip a tent quietly.
All I could think of was to hide my shame. I couldn't confess. How embarrassing! So I rolled that sleeping bag up and sat at the picnic table in the cold early dawn light, waiting for my family to appear.
How thrilled my mom was when she got up and discovered that not only was I up, but dressed and my bed was made!! And darned if she didn't comment on it ALL DAY LONG! We were moving to a different campsite that day, so we packed up the car and away we went. With my icky sleeping bag buried in the depths of the trunk of the car. How I dreaded the coming night.
But you know how it goes. The day goes by. The night draws closer. The campsite is chosen, the tent erected, gear stowed inside. I do believe it was raining. It always seems to rain when something dreadful is going to happen. We were huddled in the tent, playing card games--Crazy Eights, Old Maid, eating bologna sandwiches and spreading potatoe chip crumbs everywhere. And at last, it was bed time. Time to roll out those sleeping bags. All the sleeping bags.
Imagine with me, if you will, a 'wet' sleeping bag in a hot car all day. A wet down-filled sleeping bag. Now imagine a wet dog. They smell very similar.
My sin was discovered. It was very sad. It was very embarassing. My parents thought it funny. How rude.
I don't know what I used for bedding. Down-filled items don't dry very quickly. Especially when it's raining. In fact, I'm not sure that thing was dry by the time we got home. Probably a laundromat figured in the picture somewhere, but a lot of this memory is blanked out, as I'm sure you can understand. Did I mention that I was like, oh, thirteen or so?????
So now you know my deepest, darkest most embarrassing secret.