My father’s mother’s house sits up on a hill at the edge of some 200 acres of woods.
Nights would get so dark I knew if anything was out there to get me, I sure wasn’t going to see it before I got had.
During grade school, my father adopted a tiny, white ball of fluff and I named her Queeny because I was a very original child. A tent showed up from somewhere and I decided I was going to camp out with Queeny. Now that I have kids, I know there’s no way in hell I’d let Cara sleep outside with just the dog at the age of six or seven.
But when I was six or seven, I was sure of my superior outdoor skills.
I camped out with the dog several times; I froze during the winters and sweated during Arkansas’s hot summers. The dog growled and barked at random things. I burned myself more times than I can count. I made some righteous baked potatoes in the coals. Yet another thing I attempted, semi-sorta was good at and then moved on from.
Tucker’s an outdoor freak. 
Hiking for a day or two to ensure you don’t see anyone other than Bigfoot is his idea of a good time. Though he had mentioned camping a couple of times, I’ve heard his camping stories. I’ve seen the pictures. Not my idea of fun. I also wasn’t so keen on cramping his style by being a wet blanket with a couple of wet wash cloths.
One day I’m trying to think of reasons why camping with Tucker, Cara, Ollie and Sophie would be a horrible idea and the next we’re getting stuff together to head off to the state park; somehow we fit the dog in the back.
We got to our campsite and Tucker pitched the tent.
Oliver decided to scope out the firepit.
Tucker hunted for wood.
And made a fire.
And we fed the kids a healthy snack of Cheetos.
And they were happy.
Then we used our obscenely large marshmallows…
to make smores…
which I didn’t eat because that’s just gross but Cara did…
and I ate a cajun style marshmallow and all was right with the world.
All was right until I took Cara to the bathhouse to clean her up and my SUV decided it would be a brilliant time to stall-out on me. Did I mention Cara also had to go to the bathroom?
It was like being in some bastardized, low-budget remake of Speed where instead of not being able to go below 60 mph or the bus would blow, I couldn’t go below 2k rpm or the truck would stall and Cara would probably wet herself.
Cara and I finally got back to camp and it was getting dark.
We had dinner and tried not to think about the issue with the truck or about the random baby foot that miraculously seemed to appear up a nostril right as you were falling asleep.
The next morning we got everything together and sped out of the park as Tucker tried to keep the truck above 2k rpm. Home again, home again…smelling of wood smoke and all very grimy.
The truck’s fixed now. Cost less than a thousand bucks to fix it…which was a lot less than I was expecting.
Which experience with camping did I prefer? Camping with Tucker and the kids.
Tucker’s better at gathering wood than Queeny was.