We went camping. We only stayed one night because Karl and I just wanted to see if we could do it, if we could survive.
We arrived around noon on Thursday and left around 2 on Friday. We set up camp, explored the park, and watched the kids play. Karl and the kids built our campfire. We roasted hotdogs. We made s’mores. We did all the things the kids really wanted to do: make s’mores and sleep in the tent.
They were so eager to sleep in our tent that they went to bed before 8:30! They were pretty worn out after all the walking and work that goes into setting up camp. Of course, we had to listen to the kids giggle about nothing for about 20 or 30 minutes before they actually fell asleep. Their behavior reminded me of how much trouble I caused as a Girl Scout — I was always the one acting silly when it was time for sleep. Something about being told that I had to go to sleep only “turned my tickle box upside down.” In her characteristic southern lilt, my scout leader would say, “Someone’s tickle box is turned upside down. Leslie, what turned your tickle box?”
One of the sweetest moment, though, was when Noah confessed to being a little worried about sleeping in the tent. No locks. Nothing separating him from the wild but some thin polyester and zippers. I told him he could pray about his fears, but he asked, “Can we have a pray-out-loud time?” So we did. The kids were very thankful for the tent and the opportunity to go camping. When it was Noah’s turn, he prayed that Jesus would protect us from bears. Karl and I had to stifle our laughs because we were still in Central Alabama, which means that there were no chances of a bear attack. Noah went to sleep without any trouble after that. He’s such a sweet boy!
I, on the other hand, had a terrible time falling asleep. It wasn’t our bed. I was so comfortable and warm I almost wish that I could inflate that mattress and unpack my sleeping bag and sleep in the den tonight. No, my bed was awesome! I wasn’t a bit stiff this morning, either. Nature was the problem. Nature is noisy! While I thoroughly enjoyed the moonlight and all the stars, I didn’t enjoy the coyote howls or the screaming cat (whatever kind of cat it was). I think if we’d have heard a screech owl, what Karl was hoping for, I might have had a panic attack. Not only that, my already overactive imagination went wild. My thoughts went from “what if a critter tears into the garbage bag” to “Jason Voorhees could walk out of that lake and kill us with his machete!” I did watch one too many horror flicks in my younger days.
I had worked my mind into such a frenzy that I was even afraid to walk by myself to the bath house in the middle of the night. Yes, I was afraid. The kids had fallen asleep hours before me, Karl had started sawing logs (can I add that to the noisy nature sounds?), and I was still wide awake. WIDE awake. I hoped and hoped that someone would wake up and have to go to the bathroom so that I could go. At exactly 3:44 Abbey had to go. I was so happy to get up and walk up the hill, shivering as we went! In the morning, Karl asked me why we didn’t just squat outside. Well, it was pretty cold and the bathhouse is heated. Not a hard decision to make, Honey!
After I took my own advice and prayed for God’s help to calm my mind, I fell asleep. The prospect of enjoying my morning cup of joe by the campfire helped to replace my messed up imaginings. Simple pleasures, y’all. Simple pleasures.
If you left a comment on Calling All Campers or you emailed me with your advice, THANK YOU! Karl and I took your advice. Next week, I’ll be asking for your campsite recipes. We are planning another trip, a longer trip, one farther from home. Lord, help me and my crazy imagination!
Here’s a little slideshow I put together. The tune is “Going Camping” by John Denver and The Muppets from their little movie, Rocky Mountain Holiday.