I don't camp. Never have, nor did I believe I ever would. Even in cub scouts I feigned being sick so as to miss a camping trip. And boy, am I glad I did! My fellow cubs came back hornet stung, sun-burnt, and scratching their poison ivy rashes. So it's no wonder I don't fancy myself a camper.
That is, until a couple of weeks ago. Suddenly--inexplicably--I found myself deep in the mountains of Oklahoma (spittin' distance--as the locals say--from Arkansas) in a cabin in the woods. Horrors!
|How did our pioneering ancestors ever make it under such barbaric circumstances?|
Just how had this happened? I dunno, not really. My wife probably told me we were going on this trip with her family while I was knee-deep into a movie or something. Doesn't matter. There I was...camping.
|Typical camping activity: Everyone fiddling with their phones|
Now, my family still claim that I wasn't camping. My father-in-law laughed and told me I never would've made it camping with his father and father-in-law. He's right. After hearing his tale of how he had about froze to death in a tent while deer hunting, I couldn't think of anything less appealing.
|I don't EVEN want to know what this strange creature is.|
"Dear, this is hardly 'camping,'" said my wife.
I said, "But...but...we're in a cabin in the woods! And there's nature stuff, and Dick and Perry, and serial killers, and Deliverance psychos, and lotsa crap surrounding us! We're camping!"
|Roughing it around the campfire with a Margarita|
My sister-in-law added, "Don't forget about the tree-frogs."
"TREE FROGS?" I shrieked, while whirling around on the deck, looking for these insidious creatures to start falling upon me. Just as I don't believe that sticks should walk (a terrifying sight), I'd never heard of such a frightening prospect before. I like my frogs on the ground where I can see them, definitely not waiting to bombard me from the huge trees above.
|My nephew wielding weapons so as to fend off the deadly Tree Frogs|
All week long, my claims of camping were ridiculed. Okay, okay, the cabin had air conditioning and even Wifi, but for God's sake, the signal was really spotty! Talk about roughing it! And sure there were wineries and breweries twenty minutes away to occupy my great outdoors-man daytime activities, but at night, a myriad of critters, varmints, and who-knows-what buzzed, clicked, shrieked, hooted, hawed, cawed, and laughed. Camping!
|The great outdoors-man finds himself inside a winery|
I should count myself lucky, I suppose, as I only had one truly tragic camping mishap. Half asleep one morning, I reached for a tube of toothpaste on the bathroom countertop, squeezed some out, and brushed my teeth. Thinking it tasted..."funny"...I checked the tube. I'd grabbed my bro-in-law's hydrocortisone. More shrieking ensued. Camping.
|Just one of the many, many dangers of camping|
Inexplicably, the locals seemed to have kinda a crush or something on Bigfoot. Everywhere you looked there were Bigfoot statues, Bigfoot shops, and Bigfoot beer.
|Getting chummy with one of the locals|
For God's sake, we were in such savage country, the locals even took to eating the Bigfeet (Bigfoots?)! When in Rome, do as the Romans do...We ordered a plate of Bigfoot Balls. While certainly not as ghastly as Rocky Mountain Oysters (nothing is), I imagine there's an entire mountain full of castrated and angry Bigfoot guys roaming around.
|So much for the camping tradition of pork and beans|
The wildlife wasn't content to stay outdoors either. One look at the room my wife and I shared with our nephews shows the obvious proof that a wild, enraged beast of some sort (maybe a castrated Bigfoot?) went on a rampage strewing clothing and other items everywhere! Camping!
|When animals attack!|
I was glad to get back to civilization after having braved it in the woods for several nights, living on the edge of danger, and barely escaping with my life. Now that I've actually--finally--been camping, I think I'm pulling up my big boy outdoors man shorts and ready to do it again. Although next time, I'd prefer a cabin with a hot tub. Yeah... Camping!
Speaking of Bigfoot, there's a rousing tale of the big lug in my short story collection, Twisted Tales from Tornado Alley. It features tugs to the heartstrings and limbs ripped from bodies. Bonus! Read it while camping.