January 25, 2012

Tent terror

Me, working hard and setting up our tent in 2002. Rob, wandering around and taking pictures. Yep.
The very best wedding gift Rob and I received (other than the Kenmore canister vacuum cleaner, which is such a boring thing to say that I won't even write it here) is the 6-person Coleman tent my dad gave us. The Eddie Bauer Edition, no less. (The first Eddie Bauer item I ever owned in my 22 years of living - you don't find much of that stuff at T.J. Maxx and garage sales...although I once bought an Abercrombie sweater from my friend Emily's garage sale across the street. Which I wore. In front of her. With no thought that it might be kind of lame.)

Annnnnyways... Determined to make the most of it, we have dragged our (somewhat unwilling) tent into the snows of Canada and the beaches of Michigan and the tic-infested woods of Missouri and the always-fire-banned scrublands of Texas. We always fight setting it up, and it always provides great stories in return.

Like the time we camped at Grand Haven State Park, right on the sand. We were the one lone tent in a sea of RVs and campers, which meant, of course, that we were totally hardcore (which might have also prompted a hi-five of pride)...until we woke up the next morning with a 1/8" layer of sand covering everything - our blankets, our eyelashes, our pillows...

Or like the time we brought Orange camping. (Before she and her fangs grew up to be bacteria-laden public menaces, she used to hike with us. No joke. She'd stay right on the trail, run ahead a ways, and trot back to make sure we were coming, just like a dog. It was awesome. And then she went insane and started hating the world.) Rob and I left her behind in the tent at one point, and came back to this scene:

That is a chipmunk, tearing around. And the little terrified, quivering lump under the blanket? Orange, the lamest guard cat ever.

Or the time Rob insisted keeping a loaf of bread in the tent would come to no harm, I fought otherwise, he fought back, and then I realized we were fighting over a loaf of bread and gave in. (I will not admit to any gleeful thoughts of "Oh, goody, I hope this backfires on him, and then he'll see that I am right all the time.") And we came back from boating to find that a squirrel had conveniently used the chipmunk's chewed entrance (of 5 years back) to enter our tent, maul the bread, and then have a field day freaking out and pooping all over when he couldn't find his way back out. Yeah, oh, goody.

Our tent is also a strange black hole. Even though I am a meticulous packer and tent roller-upper, every other time we camp I find some long-lost item - a pair of pants, my wedding ring, a pair of glasses, a flashlight. It's the mystery of the Coleman, and as long as it keeps delivering, I won't ask questions.

It's been almost 11 years since we first got our tent - the poles are in shreds, the door zipper breaks open, the 10-year-old squirrel hole is now an open invitation to armadillos and scorpions of Texas.

But still we hang on to it. It's our badge of honor. Our scrapbook of camping memories. Our testament to family togetherness.


A tent ON CLEARANCE?? I can feel the smooth unbroken poles when I close my eyes...
I am bathed in the cold sweat of clearance excitement as I type.

No comments: