I grew up in the suburbs of a big city. Most everyone I knew had an identical looking house in a subdivision. Your house was either a “ranch” or a “colonial”. Every home was surrounded by a big gray concrete sidewalk in the front and a large wooden fence in the back. It took our Father’s about 20 minutes, total, each Saturday, to mow the front and the back yard. My familiarity with the outdoors consisted of going to the Memphis Zoo once a year. And even then, my Mother would warn us to “Get back from the bars, it may come over and eat you!”
Thus, as you can imagine, my first experience with camping did not come until I was 24. My husband mentioned that his family liked “to camp”. I wasn’t quite sure what that meant – did they go “to camp”? It sounded as if he was using the word camp as a verb. But I let it go, as I figured camp (the verb) would never affect me.
So, when he asked me one weekend to join his family camping – I finally had to ask, “What exactly is camping?” “You know,” he said, “tents, roasting hot dogs over an open fire, hiking, roughing it … it’s great!” Roughing it? Roughing it, as I knew it, was when my Father mowed the lawn without taking his allergy medicine first. We simply are not outdoorsy people.
Before I said yes, I called my Mother and explained “to camp” to her and asked her opinion of my “camping.” “They sleep in a tent?” she exclaimed, “I didn’t think anybody slept in a tent unless there was a natural disaster.” While I wholeheartedly agreed with her analysis, being that it was still early in the relationship and I didn’t want to appear difficult (that would come later) – I agreed “to camp.”
I soon learned camping is not just tents, hot dogs and hikes. “To camp” consisted of bugs, sleeping on the ground and showers that you can’t go into without shoes. If you dare to shower without shoes, then you will certainly catch something that will require your needing a prescription later in the week.
I did not like “to camp”. Not one bit. At least in a natural disaster, the Red Cross is there to help. I was on my own with all these campers who loved sitting around the fire, talking and laughing while the man-eating coyotes were out there howling. I was terrified that at any moment the campers would break into campfire songs and the coyotes would find us. I wasn’t sure which would be worse.
As soon as I got back to my concrete jungle, I unequivicolly told my husband-to-be that the next time he chose to camp, I would be going home to see my parents. If we were to get married, I was never “to camp” again. I think he only agreed because of the fact I seemed somewhat delirious from the fumes of the anti-fungal spray I was frantically spraying onto the soles of my feet.
So it was a great surprise to me a few years ago when my eldest child (who has never gone outside without bug spray and sunscreen) asked me to be a Girl Scout. “You know Mom, …they cook hot dogs over an open fire, take hikes and sleep in tents. You know they camp.” And there it was, Nature vs. Nurture standing right in front of me. She wanted “to camp” even though I had raised her believe the word “camp” could only be used as a noun.
So she is a Girl Scout and my middle daughter is a Brownie. They love it. They camp out in tents, cook camp food in tinfoil and use a compass to navigate their hikes. Simply put my girls love “to camp”. Their Dad is overjoyed and attends all their outdoor adventures with them.
Sure I’m lonely on the weekends they are gone. I suppose I could join them but I’ve weighed the pros and cons. Pro - being alone, in my well lit, well heated home as I watch What Not To Wear and eat my Ben & Jerry’s ice cream right out of the carton and Con - being cold, hungry and wet in my little, claustrophobic, humid tent eating lukewarm food out of a can. It was a hard call but I gave each of them a big hug before they pulled out of the driveway. And ….a little spritz of anti-fungal, just in case.Telling Tales
Angel Kane and Becky Andrews live in Wilson County. This is their story (or tale) about their life, families and times that they share. Besides their weekly column Telling Tales Angel and Becky Co Founded Wilson Living Magazine. The idea of developing a magazine for Wilson County first came to Becky and Angel one afternoon while they sat on her back porch watching their children play in the backyard.
They were discussing the outpouring of emails, calls and responses to their column “Telling Tales” and wanted to find a way to capture that community spirit. People were stopping them wherever they went to share their own “tales.” They suddenly realized everyone has a story to tell and many of these stories were amazing. And in that moment, Wilson Living Magazine came to life. Be sure to check out Wilson Living Magazine at www.wilsonlivingmagazine.com
You can contact Angel at firstname.lastname@example.org - You can contact Becky at email@example.com