Summer is Going Fast! by Kathy Smith

Summer is going fast! That means it’s time to pack up the kids, the dog, the tent and go camping.

Most farmers I know think that they get enough time enjoying the great outdoors while working in the fields every day. So they really aren’t all that excited about camping when they have some rare time off. But that’s not true of our city cousins.

A friend spent nearly a month getting ready for her family’s camping adventure. She washed and cleaned their camper from top to bottom, replaced the shelf paper, washed bedding and gathered the many supplies needed for their trip. As time grew nearer, she planned meals, bought groceries, and made endless lists so nothing would be forgotten.

The day finally arrived. As she followed her husband out of the driveway, she noticed that the trailer lights weren’t working. Trying to get his attention, she had a minor accident and tore the door strip off of her car. She didn’t realize this until they got to the campground and her husband looked at the car.

The list of rules at the campground was nearly a book. Every vehicle had to have a special tag. She had paid for two lots so her son and his family could also camp, and even though he would be coming later that night after work, the campground would not give her the second sticker. She and her husband had only ten minutes to rush to the campsite, set up, unload their camper and drive their truck back down to a special parking area.

Her young grandson brought his bike. After only two hours at the camp, he rode down a hill too fast and ended up headfirst in poison ivy. He was ready for more adventures after some first-aid but she was wondering what could possibly go wrong next.

Campers were not allowed to take firewood into the park due to the threat of Elm Borer disease. My friend bought a small bundle of firewood to cook supper, but it wasn’t enough. They had to drive out of the park and try to find some approved firewood so they could eat. The firewood they finally found was definitely not cheap.

That night when everyone was asleep, my friend heard a chewing, scratching sound. After listening for a few minutes she decided that either they brought a mouse with them from home or some country mouse had found a house in a hurry.

The next morning the family awoke to find an invading army of huge ants in the camper. Ants were everywhere—in anything that was open. She had to throw away crackers, marshmallows and even cereal.

The grandkids wanted to go swimming, so they got their bathing suits on and walked to the pool. Just as they were about to step into the water, it started to rain. It really poured. The kids didn’t get to go swimming, my friend was drenched and a mammoth mud puddle grew between the two camp sites. Just as she put a pair of dry shoes on a child he or she would walk through the puddle and need another pair.

About 4 a.m. the next morning, she was awakened by loud music. Thinking that the music was coming from her son’s tent she called his cell phone but he didn’t answer. So she got a flashlight and walked toward his tent. Then she heard a growl. She stopped, waited and walked closer. Then she heard the growl again. She turned around and ran as fast as she could back to her camper. She thinks she even jumped the mud puddle she was so scared.

She heard her son yell “Mom,” and thought something was chasing him too. When she finally calmed down and peeked out her camper door, her son was standing there and said “Mom, I didn’t know you could move so fast.” He was laughing so hard he could hardly talk. They sat by the fire and finally decided nothing was out there. She walked back to his tent so he could check on his daughter and as he unzipped the tent, she realized that the growl she heard was the zipper on his tent.

When they got up the next morning both she and her son were complaining about mosquito bites. Hers were all over her legs and his were on his arms and legs. She began itching so badly that she had to go to the emergency room as soon as she got home. It was poison oak, not mosquitoes. It took a shot, medicine and more than a few days to start her healing. The doctor told her it probably was from the wood they used in their campfire.

Her camping trip was so much fun that she wrote a poem about it: “Thank God for sidewalks and convenient stores, Running water and street lights. Country is beautiful when passing through; I’ll just stay long enough to enjoy the view.”

Kathy Smith is a farm wife from Wayne Township. She writes for the Ashtabula County Farm Bureau.