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Tuesday, 05 July 2011

Roughing It

By Mickey Rogers of This, That and the Other

Perhaps in a vain attempt to relive her childhood, my wife suggested that we dig out our old tent and spend the night at a nearby state park.

Like the camping trips of her long-ago youth, this was to be a night spent without the aid of modern conveniences. Just like the early explorers, hunters and trappers, by “roughing it” we would once again get in touch with and even become a part of the natural order of things.

Unfortunately, Bev and I have differing opinions as to what constitutes “roughing it.”

After sorting through what seemed like tons of old clothing, rags, pictures and rusty tools, I finally found our 1980s era tent. Although faded and smelling like half-rotten fish, to my pleasant surprise the tent had only five rather small holes.

After applying masking tape to those areas, I took the tent to the backyard for a much-needed airing. There I discovered that two poles were broken, but my tape fixed that problem too.

Later that evening, after arriving at the park, Bev was dismayed to discover that I’d gotten a camping site that had an electrical hookup. “I thought we were going to rough it,” she complained.

“We are still roughing it, dear,” I volunteered. "I brought the old radio from the basement. It can’t even pick up Chicago unless the wind is blowing right.” Bev was not amused.

After we set up the tent, my wife suggested that I gather firewood so that we could cook our supper. With a guilty look on my face, I admitted that other plans were in order.

Although she didn’t like the idea, she reluctantly agreed to go with me to a nearby restaurant where we enjoyed steaks, salads and baked potatoes. Between bites she reminded me that we were no longer roughing it.

I assured her that we were indeed dining in a most primitive fashion. I had deliberately picked a restaurant that did not have air conditioning. It must have been 75 degrees in that joint!

Back at the campground I stacked wood in the fire ring and proceeded to douse it with lighting fluid. “You’re certainly no Daniel Boone,” my disgruntled wife complained.

“Actually, I’m more of the Pat Boone type,” I replied. I thought that was a brilliant rejoinder. Bev thought otherwise.

Perhaps it was bad luck or even bad karma, For the next two hours, we sat by a “smoke” instead of a fire. Evidently they just don’t make wood the way they used to.

Not surprisingly, Bev didn’t approve of the air mattresses that I had neatly hidden under the tent and the other supplies and furthermore, she argued that I was breaking our agreement to rough it by filling the mattresses with air from the van’s compressor unit.

I explained that at my age the lungs are taxed just by doing their regular work. Besides, I reasoned, no doubt old Daniel Boone himself would have used an air mattress and a compressor if only they had been available.

Bev simply rolled her eyes and mumbled something that was thankfully unintelligible.

At about three in the morning, we heard the distant rumbling of thunder soon to be followed by jagged shards of lightning. Then the rain began dripping through the holes that I had so carefully patched. “Let’s go to the van,” I pleaded.

“Pioneers wouldn’t go running to their cars at a time like this,” was her sarcastic reply.

“No, I guess they wouldn’t,” I agreed. “How about if we pretend that the van is a covered wagon?”

After waiting in the van for over an hour, my wife reluctantly agreed that we could go home. Forty-five minutes later, snuggled comfortably in our own bed, Bev fired one last salvo: “I give up; you’re just too 'city-fied' and soft to rough it.”

Before falling into a deep sleep, I fired back: “I can be just as tough as you and your pioneer family. On the next cold night I’ll give you all the 'primitive' that you can handle; I’ll unplug the electric blanket.”

Now in my book, that’s really roughing it. Neither Daniel Boone nor any other pioneer has anything on me.

[INVITATION: All elders, 50 and older, are welcome to submit stories for this blog. They can be fiction, non-fiction, poetry, memoir, etc. Instructions for submitting are here.]

Posted by Ronni Bennett at 05:30 AM | Permalink | Email this post


Mickey, this is so funny. Thanks.

Loved every word..be glad you have each other, if only for writing props..I thought all these long years later of all the times when married my hubby and I thought we were communicating clearly, but clearly were not, or we would still be "camping out." Men and women, we certainly are some odd birds, said that in keeping with the "outdoor" theme...good piece...

Camping out to me is the 6th floor of the Plaza, but thoroughly enjoyed your story. Made me laugh all through it.

Been there, done that, bought the t-shirt, would not re-visit that experience for all the tea in China. Not even in my memories. Believe me when I tell you that loving nature does not necessarily include CAMPING!

Loved It! Reminded me of my one and only camping experience!

My husband convinced me to go camping one time saying that I would love it because he would be taking me away from all this.....

What "This" was he talking about, I wondered? my washer ,dryer, TV, DVR, dishwasher, comfortable bed? WHAT?

Loved your story. It reminded me of some of my adventures.

Lots of fun, Mickey! My husband quit camping when he discovered tents don't come with indoor plumbing.

I won't sleep in a tent unless it has air conditioning and a bar.

Mickey, I don't think you could survive a day back in the frontier days!

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