Not a Happy Camper

blogIMG_2352A friend of mine recently posted the following  status on Facebook:  “My idea of camping is when a hotel doesn’t have room service.”   Oh, how I so relate!

This weekend is an annual church camp-out for many of my friends from the other of the country where we previously lived.  I know this from their FB statuses and my friend elsiephoebe’s blog.

I tend to keep up with many of my friends via Facebook.  Now before you relegate me into the recluse department, let me explain a majority of these friends are far-away friends. 

They live in other states, are friends from past places, churches, and neighborhoods.  Because it keeps us connected, I check into my FB account every so often  just to catch up with them.

So back to the subject of camping….even though I am a born and raised country girl who after years of ‘burbing it up (living in the suburbs) is back in the saddle of country life again (so to speak),  I am not much of a camper.  When I was knee-high to a grasshopper (back when I was a kid), I didn’t really do much real camping.

My parents’ camp was a mobile home on a plot of land “up in the mountains” as we called it back then.  So we really didn’t camp in the true sense of the word, because we had beds, furniture, electricity, full kitchen, and even TV!  

In the summer time, friends and I would “camp out” meaning we slept outside in our back yards, but again that is not really considered camping.  My husband was a Boy Scout, so even though he was a city dweller, he probably had more actual camping experience than I did.

As our children grew older, they clamored for this activity, and we would oblige them in some fashion.   When I served as a Girl Scout assistant leader, I did participate in  “camping trips”  with my daughters’ troops, but even those found us staying in retreat centers, not sleeping outside in tents.  

Son was lucky enough to have his dad accompany him on Cub Scout camping trips when my hubby was an assistant Cub Scout Pack leader.  They may have actually camped in tents, I don’t remember.   I was just relieved I didn’t have take part in it!

For several years we also appeased our kids by attending our church’s annual camp-out weekends.   When we lived in the mid-west, close friends of ours managed the church campgrounds, and they convinced us to attend the district family camp always held in September.   We stayed in cabins, had running water for showers in the bathhouse, and ate our meals communal style in the dining hall.  Again, not hard-core camping.

blogIMG_2353Later we moved to the Pacific Northwest and our church there also held a family camp-out weekend at the Pacific coast.  The first couple years, we booked a motel room close to the campgrounds.  

We spent the days with our fellow church goers, helped cook meals, sat around the campfires, ate mountain pies, but when it was time to turn in for the evening, we headed back to the motel and a nice, comfy, warm bed plus our own bathroom with a hot shower. 

This was my idea of camping, not my family’s, although I think they were secretly glad when it poured down rain all night the first night and we were contentedly sleeping in our nice dry motel room!

Part of the reason we stayed at a nearby inn was because the campgrounds had no cabins, so you could only stay in a tent or in your own RV.   Since we didn’t own an RV, tenting would have been our only other option.  We do own a tent, a camp stove,  camp lantern, and we have sleeping bags.  But just let me clear up the matter on tenting.  The sheer idea of climbing in a tent, zipping yourself into a sleeping bag, and THEN zipping yourself into a tent made me hyperventilate!

I am extremely claustrophobic and while this malady has improved over the years, back in the days when our kids were young, I was a basket case at the mere mention of anything that  sounded remotely restraining.

Remember that Girl Scout camping trip I mentioned earlier?  Well, while everyone else slept in their zipped up sleeping bags in the retreat center, I slept on top of mine, with just a blanket over me for warmth because I could not zip myself into that bag!

The last couple of years before we moved back to the homeland, our church held the annual family campout at a KOA campground which offered log cabins for rent.  My husband and kids persuaded me we should stay there instead of checking into a motel, and we did have a truly wonderful time.

Of course, there were beds to sleep in and I could use blankets and sheets instead of sleeping bags and above all else, we weren’t in a tent!  We cooked outside on our camp stove and had access to the public bathhouse for showers and potty breaks, so it wasn’t roughing it too much.   My kids won’t ever forget the time we camped then and that’s as close to the real thing as they’ll ever entice me to do.

After we moved here to the country, our tent withstood a lot of usage by our kids, but I have never, ever slept in it.  Nor will I.  Instead I heartily  agree with humor columnist Dave Barry who once wrote,   “Camping is nature’s way of promoting the motel business.”

Now that our children are all adults, they can choose to camp whenever they want and they do.   Actually, I think they enjoy camping so much now because they didn’t get to engage in the activity that often as kids.   So I guess I didn’t deprive them so much after all.

As for me, I’d go camping again if I could stay in a RV like my sister and brother-in-law own – a nice huge fifth-wheeler with a queen-sized bed, fully equipped kitchen with microwave, and internet and cable TV capabilities.

Now THAT’S my idea of camping and it’s probably the only way I’d call myself a happy camper!



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