Show me the showers…
by Denise Dube
I know what a spork is, I know where to get one and what it is generally used for. And, frankly, if it smells like it’s for camping, looks like it’s for camping or feels like it’s for camping, you can bet your uncomfortable sleeping bag on any cold earthen floor that I won’t be needing one anytime soon.
I won’t go into my inability to use an outhouse without throwing up, or my distaste of wood ash sprinkled over my baked beans. Aha, I hear “wimp” from those of you wearing camping gear and pitching tents in iron-like earth.
Yes, I am a wimp, one who has tried to camp on more than four occasions. I learned how to make a well around the outside of the tent to keep rain from seeping inside the tent’s floor. I figured out how to cook over an outside fire. I learned how to wash dishes in a kitchen made on the floor of dry pine needles.
I did it all for an enthusiastic friend who swore it was the only way for my family to truly get close to nature.
She did not tell me I would stink like nature, get bitten by nature, fall over nature’s rocks or cry like a big baby for the warmth of a shower. But I persevered – until that fourth trip. We divided our family into two tents and settled in for a full night’s sleep. That’s when hurricane-like winds toppled my tent – the one with my two youngest children and our two dogs. There we were, blankets and gear strewn everywhere, stuck because the flap zipper would not open. I, past being scared, stood in the middle of the uprooted tent and laughed hysterically.
My husband, in the next tent with our oldest, managed to get us out. I, stupidly thinking I would get at least six hours’ rest after having had enough of the “kitchen,” the stinky outhouse, and 20 degree Maine water, continued to laugh at the absurdity of it all.
My kids and even our two dogs looked at me like I was crazy before clamoring, blankets clutched to their chest, into the seats of the station wagon.
The children did not speak to me the next day. That trip occurred eight years ago. Although I was finally let into the family circle again, they still talk about “mom’s meltdown” when the tent rolled over at Moosehead Lake.
I will garden and hike, thank you very much. I will even use the bushes as a bathroom if absolutely necessary. I will hang glide, kayak, hike, walk, and go up in a balloon. But camping? I’d rather die. I will admit, my daughter camps with her friends. They have a great time. The rest of my family? You can’t even mention camping before they start laughing hysterically.
Have a camping comment? Maybe, like my friend, you have had some great experiences. Then again, maybe not. Write to Denise@justsaygo.com about your most amazing camping experiences. We’ll post them next month. Send a picture too.