Today we gave our tent away. It was pretty worn and stained from the elements, but it still had some good use left in it.
We haven’t used it for years, but we kept it like you would an old baby shoe. It held so many memories for our family it was hard to part with it. But we are moving on and can’t justify keeping it any longer. At least we still have our memories. Many of our memories are the good times we shared camping with friends and going places we might not have been able to go if we had to pay for a motel for our large family of seven. But I would say that many of our memories are all about the weather. If there was a drought all we had to do was get our tent out and plan to sleep in it for a few days.
I think the worst rain storm was the one that traveled with us across Canada. It was a two week trip and we stayed a motel at least half of those days due to the horrendous weather. The worst night was when we found ourselves in the middle of no where, Canada. It was dark and the rain was dumping from the sky. We had no idea how far we were from any town that might have a hotel. It was raining so hard our windshield wipers were useless. My husband was exhausted and ready to just pull to the side of the road when we saw a rest stop. He pulled in and we saw a covered shelter.
“Perfect”, my husband said. “We’ll get our sleeping bags out of the back and sleep under the shelter”.
“Well, I think we are too late”, I said as we got closer. “It seems to be full of travelers with the same idea.”
“Are we gonna hafta sleep in the car?” one of the kids asked.
“It looks that way” their dad answered.
“I hafta go potty” the youngest piped.
“ I see what looks like an out house type potty” I said, “lets all take turns going so we don’t have to stand in the rain and wait.”
My husband drove the car as close to the out house as he could without actually hitting it with the car. Our youngest was the first to bolt out of the car and stepped into mud up to her knees. When she returned to the car she had to slip out of her clothes at the door and I tried to clean her shoes off with a stray towel. As the rest of the kids got out we were more prepared and we manage to dig our short handled shovel out of our camping gear. Each child used it to scrape the mud from their shoes before reentering the van. But still mud ended up on everything inside.
The rest stop was full of other travelers. Some had tent trailers opened up. Others had used the floor of the shelter for a bed. Many were just curled up in their cars. And that is what we did. All seven of us. The youngest was still in a car seat so we just tilted it back for her. Since it was a van with two sets of rear seats the next two younger children each got to stretch out on a seat. The older two unrolled their sleeping bags and slept on the floor. I got to recline my seat and managed to get a little comfortable, but my poor husband had to twist his body around the steering wheel in the drivers seat.
At day break the storm had slowed some. At least the windshield wipers did some good. So, with a car full of mud and kids who looked as if they had rolled in it we continued on our way.
It was a wonderful trip in spite of the rain. We didn’t use the tent much on that trip, but we had made the mistake of taking it out of the garage. It was one of the few things without mud on it.
Now the tent is gone. It went to a nice young couple. I told them how the tent loves rain. They laughed. I laughed. I’ll miss that tent, but at least I have the memories.
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