We have reached that part of the year when the short days and long nights start to wear on me. Just kind of mess with my psyche. You, too?
Mid-January every year, I will google “how many days until spring”, and come up with stuff like you see in the above picture. Brings me a bit of hope.
And I start dreaming of camping. The man of my dreams and I love to go camping. 43 years of marriage has included many camping trips. Which is kind of remarkable considering the first few years of camping included some challenging trips. Let’s be honest, we had some completely miserable experiences that sucked the fun right out of life. It’s kind of remarkable we’re even still married, not to mention still camping.
One of our first camping trips was at the Ottawa County Fishing Lake in 1976. We borrowed my sister’s old pop-up tent trailer for the weekend and took our precious 6 month old baby girl on her first camping trip. It was pretty dog-gone exciting to be sleeping sort of indoors instead of on the floor of a leaky tent. After setting it up a few feet from the lake shore, we tucked our baby into a cozy bed on one end of the pop-up, and crawled into our own bed on the other side. Probably no more than 4 feet away from her. Tiny little tent trailer. Which eased my mind that we’d be close by if she cried. Practically arms length.
Regardless of the local weather forecast, camping in Kansas often involves a little rain. This particular trip was no exception. The usual loud impressive display of lightning and thunder was accompanied by torrential rains and of course wind. The storm woke us up and we were just so very happy to be inside a warm, dry pop-up trailer. Shortly after the storm began we heard our little girl crying and as was our custom we let her cry for just a little bit thinking she’d go back to sleep. Well that was not to happen so I got out of bed and reached over to her bed to comfort her. But I couldn’t seem to reach her. She was screaming bloody murder by that time and I asked DeWayne if he could reach her.
He couldn’t reach her. We couldn’t see her when the lightning flashed enough to light up the trailer. (yes, a flashlight would have been a brilliant thing to have that night) The baby continued to scream, from some unknown location. How do you lose a 6 month old baby inside a miniscule pop-up tent trailer? I started to scream too. One frightened mommy.
Not really knowing where else to look, and with panic setting in, we finally left the camper and went outside into the pouring torrential rain. As we walked around to the side of the camper closest to the rising lakewater, there was our crying baby. Somehow while in her bed she had rolled up against the canvas wall of the trailer and slid out between the bed and the canvas, dropping probably 3 feet onto the wet rainy ground. No injuries, just wet and cold. I can’t describe the relief we felt to hold her close and know she was unharmed.
My memory of the rest of that night is vague but I wouldn’t be a bit surprised if we just packed up in the car and drove back home to sleep. That’s the perk of camping 8 miles from home. There were probably more trips home to sleep than mornings when we woke up still at the lake in our early years of camping.
And still….we camp. Sometimes we even take a flashlight.
Sixty four days. In a few minutes the clock strikes midnight and it will be sixty three days. I just want to go camping.