I, like other clueless new spouses, signed my marriage license without reading the fine print. Later, I discovered I had promised to camp with my husband — for better, for worse — until lightning melted our tent poles or ravenous raccoons starved us out.
After decades of marriage, I now welcome campout vacations.
Or perhaps I’ve numbed to the point I think I like them.
Either way, I’ve learned the Camping Commandments:
- If thou ownest an RV resembling a Trump hotel, wave pleasantly to those abiding in a bathroom-cabinet-sized tent. Similarly, tent dwellers should show friendliness to those in luxurious quarters. After all, we share the same pioneering blood — a fact well known to mosquitoes.
- Thou shalt not concoct gourmet meals whose tantalizing fragrances make thy neighboring cook’s peanut butter and jelly sandwiches appear inferior.
- Designer clothes on a campout shall be considered illegal.
- In the community restroom, thou shalt not hog the one working sink for three hours, perfecting thy mascara.
- Always swat a bug that lands on a fellow camper — after introducing yourself first.
- If thou art a Boy Scout who attained the Pyro Overachiever Badge, bless others with thy superior craft. However, if an ignorant fellow camper adds an uninvited log onto thy perfect blaze, do not toss him in after it.
- If sharing a group meal around the campfire, thou shalt not bring up scary research facts about hot dogs.
- Neither shalt thou yank blazing marshmallows out of the fire, lighting fellow roasters like birthday candles.
- Thou shalt not spin in 60-mph circles on a tire swing after eating four triple-marshmallow s’mores. (My grandson can attest to this one.)
- If rain ensues, and thou ownest the sole camper in thy group, thou shalt welcome all 47 muddy, smelly tent-dwellers — for a price.
- When changing at night in a tent, stuff thy flashlight into thy shoe for lower illumination. Otherwise, thy silhouette will gather unwanted fans or frighten thy neighbors into hysterics.
- Even a grandma cannot be expected to welcome a wildflower bouquet featuring poison ivy.
- Finally, departing campers should always share excess firewood with neighbors. If their loud music kept thy family awake at 3 a.m., thou mayest bore holes in the logs and insert firecrackers first.
“Wait,” you say. “You’ve cited more than ten commandments. Do campers really need that many?”
“Absolutely. We campers are wild by nature. Actually, there are many more commandments than these.”
“Go back and read the fine print.”
Your Extraordinary Ordinary: What Camping Commandments would you include?