Strangely enough, every winter, I get a real hankering to be in the great outdoors. I want to breathe air that’s not tainted with exhaust or staleness. I want to walk away from technology and reflect upon days of yore when 24/7 screens weren’t a thing. I want to cook bacon over an open fire first thing in the morning and I want to drift off to dream while watching the same fire embers slowly fade into ash.
But because it’s usually cold when I begin my longing for a life of simplicity via the closest campground, I can dream big.
My daughters share some Pinterest boards with me, like the boards “Please Don’t Make This Ever, Mom” and “Things My Parents Should Never Wear, Say or Do In Public.” They immediately saw my camping board and, well, let’s just say the wailing and gnashing of teeth began in Old Testament proportions.
Their first line of defense was to remind me of the last time we went camping. We were supposed to borrow a friend’s camper and at the last minute, through a series of unfortunate events that involved a backed-up sewer line and a pending new floor in her camper, we found ourselves borrowing a two-room tent from another friend. During that particular weekend, it took almost 15 people to help pitch that tent. I drove to the bathroom at 3 a.m. without my glasses on because I am a 40-year-old woman and my bladder doesn’t care how cold or scary the walk to the closest bathroom is. A huge limb fell on the tent in the middle of the night and my husband thought we had found ourselves in the middle of a slasher movie. And a neighboring camper peed on the side of our tent because, again, the walk to the bathroom was cold, long and scary.
I remembered all those things clearly. I calmed their fears by reminding them that I had great memories of camping as a child and it wouldn’t be nearly as bad as it was that one time we went camping.
Ahhh … the camping trips of my youth! We had a pop-up, slide-out camper and lived less than 20 miles from Osage Hills State Park in Pawhuska. That meant we could go camping every single weekend if we wanted to. As a lively 12-year-old, I actually wanted to camp every weekend! I remembered the carefree way my sister and our friends and I got to roam the state park, eat whenever we wanted to, play in the creek, go to bed dirty and sleep until the sun woke us. It was the life! Yes! I wanted to camp!
Then my mom reminded me (thus providing ammunition for my family’s arguments) that I never helped with food prep or putting the food away at night to keep the critters away. I never remembered the midnight walks (plural) to the bathroom nor did I remember the night we encountered the tarantula and the snake on the same trip to the bathroom.
I did not remember those things. I was a little leery of her stories, though. It seems to me that I’d remember a huge, hairy spider and a giant, slithering snake. But, my mother and I are getting old. Selective memory is both plausible and probable for both of us.
None the less, I pinned on and planned a glorious spring break camping trip, much to the disdain and chagrin of my family.
I planned that we would hike all day and stare at the stars all night! My family said we could walk the neighborhood and sleep on the trampoline in the back yard.
I planned that we would cook all of our meals from scratch on an open flame. My family reminded me that we have an outdoor grill right on our driveway.
I planned that we would inhale the glorious air as God created it and not as man had polluted it. My family shook their heads as they argued that we didn’t have a lot of traffic in our neighborhood and our windows did open.
I planned that we would put away the screens and reconnect with each other. My family pulled the board game Scattergories from our game cabinet and promised to play nicely with each other for a full hour while our electronic devices rested securely and silently on the charging station in the other room.
I wasn’t ready to give in that quickly, though they did offer compelling arguments.
Then, I opened the door for the cats and they brought in with them a dead mouse and a spider that jumped almost as high as I did.
Ya know? Scattergories is a fun game. And my bed sleeps just fine—especially when I open the window and pretend I’m camping.
Heather Davis is a momma, a writer and an avid pinner of things she’ll never do. Contact her through her website, www.Heather-Davis.net.