Tag Archives: Vacation

The Camping Commandments

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.”

“More?”

“Go back and read the fine print.”

Your Extraordinary Ordinary: What Camping Commandments would you include?

Wild Mama

Every mother, no matter how devoted, experiences moments when she yearns to … go wild.

 I should have known on a day when I dared sleep in, trouble would soon follow.

Sleeping in was unknown luxury during my years as a young mother, a fairy-tale fantasy that inevitably dissolved in a shower of Cheerios and the wiggles and jiggles and messy, precious kisses of my preschoolers.

Sleeping in existed in a different solar system — or perhaps in a different galaxy far, far away.

But that knowledge evaporated as I lay in a bed I wouldn’t have to make, savoring the ecstasy of a quiet — yes, quiet — 16th-floor hotel room.

My husband already had left for his conference. I went wild and indulged in forbidden pleasures:  a cup of real coffee (double cream) in bed, steaming hot from the first mellow sip to the very last; a television program in which most people already knew how to count to ten; and a long, sinful bath filled to the top, with no Mr. Bubble or rubber duckies in sight.

After bathing, I ignored my ratty plaid bathrobe hanging on the hook. I didn’t decide what to wear. Instead, I wandered around the room, carefree and content as Eve in the Garden of Eden.

Prolonging my wild mama fling — unhampered by diaper bags, car seats, nap times or must-have blankies — I pondered how I would spend an entire day without children or Happy Meals.

Intoxicated with my liberty, I forgot my mother’s advice to always close the drapes and faced the room-sized picture windows. The panoramic view of city streets and smaller buildings far below dazzled my eyes, my soul. Embracing the endless, azure sky, I sang, “I’m free! Free!”

helicopterChuk-chuk-chuk-chuk-chuk! A dragonfly the size of a 60s Cadillac suddenly hovered by the window.

I hit the floor as if attacked by enemy fire. I yanked the bedspread (Too late?) across my prostrate, naked form.

Had he seen me?

The traffic helicopter pilot waved.

Then he and his mighty machine swept off to corners of the universe where other derelict mothers in need of reform might lurk.

How about you? Ever have a day when you morphed into a wild mama?

 

OMG, It’s Monday! Prayer

Camper

Oh, my God, we just returned from two fun weeks of living in a pop-up camper. Glad to be home, especially during a stormy night’s bathroom visit! Jesus, during three years of ministry, You didn’t even own a pop-up to shelter You from rain, wind and mosquitoes. OMG, how You must love us!