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Let’s Go Camping!

We were still living in the city, but took every opportunity to visit the land we had purchased for retirement.  There was no house yet, just a hilltop backing up to the forest, with lovely views.

“Let’s go camping on the land,” said my well-meaning husband one beautiful autumn day.  So we  shopped for a camping trip.  We bought a little tent for two, a couple of air mattresses, sleeping bags, a cook stove and pots and pans, portable this and portable that, flashlights, and of course, food in various inedible forms.  I had the right attitude – eager – and the shopping was great fun anyway.

Setting Up the Camp Site

It took a little doing but we got the tent set up and staked right where we thought the house might go, and settled down to enjoy the fall colors, take walks, clear some underbrush, survey the boundaries, and imagine life in rural Virginia. One of our kindly neighbors-to-be came by with big jugs of water and asked if we needed blankets or anything.  “No, we’re fine,” we said and thanked her profusely

Anyway, we were happily enjoying the camp out when night began to fall.  The temperature dipped with the setting sun, so we built a campfire and had something I don’t recall for dinner.   I do remember that if I sat right next to the fire, the front of me stayed warm, but the back of me was freezing.  “I’m going to turn in,” I finally said, with chattering teeth.  It was probably 8 PM!

The Big Chill

Inside the tent was about 3 degrees warmer than outside.  “Oh well, the sleeping bag will take care of the chill,” I thought.  Ha!  Curled up in my bag, I was soon keenly aware that anything sticking out was freezing – like nose and ears.  Inside the sleeping bag, my feet were freezing.  I hurriedly put on three pairs of socks and a stocking cap over ears and nose and tried to sleep.  Ha!  Why didn’t I accept the neighbor’s offer of blankets?

Tossing and turning in a slick sleeping bag on top of a slick air mattress meant I spent more time on the sleazy floor of the tent than on the mattress. A toss or a turn would result in uncontrollable sliding!  Around 2 AM I threw the air mattress across the tent (didn’t mean to hit my husband you know) and I slept (periodically) on the plastic covered ground.

The Call of Nature

Early morning  and I emerged in a semi-frozen, semi-comatose state to my very sweet husband cooking bacon and eggs with his usual cheerful, oh-happy-day- demeanor.  Grrrrrr!  Embarrassing to mention, but nature was calling.  I was still freezing so I donned my beige suede jacket (feeling the city girl’s need to be ever stylish) and headed for the privacy of the forest for morning evacuation. I found a convenient tree to hide behind, unceremoniously pulled down my britches, and in the middle of relief had a horrible thought, “OMG – it’s deer hunting season!  And here I am in a beige jacket with my pants down.  I’m sure I look like a WHITE TAILED DEER!” I was back at the campfire in a great big hurry.

This was not our last camping trip.  On the other hand, I think it was, since I no longer had have the right attitude and the house has been up for 24 years.

This is obviously another “Remember when?” story don’t you think?  The Tale of the White Tailed Deer.

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