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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: rain (10/17/05)

TITLE: Camping in the Rain
By Betsy Tacchella


For those of you who are campers, have you ever noticed that camping and rain are synonymous? My husband and I are camping groupies. When our children were small we spent many vacations in backwoods or mountains around a campfire or on the trails. At that time we had a Volkswagen bus, as they were called in those days, that we had converted into a mini camper of sorts. When night came, we stretched a homemade cot above the two front seats. With the back seats out, a double mattress fit nicely in the back and finally another small mattress at the end. One daughter in the front, one in the back and my husband and I in the middle. It worked fine. We also stretched a piece of canvas across the outside of the van so that we could go in and out of the van in a dry spot.

On this particular trip it had rained continually for three days. You might have guessed, we were in Oregon where rain is typical. Often we would just continue our travels on rainy days, all the while trying to stay in a good mood. But after three days in the van, edginess was my companion. All of our tempers were short and it was becoming harder to keep a good attitude. We needed to get outside of our cramped quarters, even if for only a few hours. But the continual patter of rain kept us inside.

Finally on the third night, we tucked the girls in bed, listened to the plunkety plunk of the rain on the roof and eventually drifted off to sleep. In the middle of the night, I awoke having to use the restroom. Groggily I slipped on Billís cowboy boots and my poncho over my pajamas. Just as I was about to exit the camper, I heard a dreaded sound, one that no camping parent wants to hear...the sound of a child throwing up all over her cot. Standing outside of the camper, I groaned at the obvious mess I would now have to clean up. In disgust and anger, I made a quick turn toward the van's front passenger door. In so doing, my head bumped the canvas stretched at the door of the van. Now filled with rain water, it jiggled a bit, then proceeded to dump gallons of water on my head.

By now everyone was awake and laughing histerically at their mother, standing in oversized cowboy boots and poncho, drenched from head to toe. At first the scene did not seem funny to me but as the girls laughed with glee, the tension and discomfort of three days in a vehicle suddenly released and I began laughing too. We all helped clean up the various messes and settled in for the rest of the night.

I have always remembered that camping story because it represents life. Sometimes the difficulties of life can cause us to feel trapped in small, enclosed places. Then something out of the ordinary happens and you canít help but laugh. The Bible says in Job 8:21 "He will yet fill your mouth with laughter and your lips with shouting.Ē I like to think that it was the Lord who filled our mouths with laughing that night. Another place it says ďA merry heart does good, like medicine.Ē Prov. 17:22 Yes, our laughter was good and as laughter so often does, it gave a fresh perspective.

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This article has been read 932 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Julianne Jones10/25/05
Just today someone asked me why I continue to go camping when things always seem to go wrong. Your piece reminded me why we do it: because despite the hardships and the problems, there's a real sense of bonding that occurs between family members when they have to pull together on camping trips. I must admit though that you did well to laugh at the time. I probably wouldn't have until after we arrived back home. A fun story. Well done.
Debbie Sickler10/26/05
I was already picturing the character is looking a little rediculous in the poncho, PJs and boots, butr when you added gallons of water! Ha! Too funny! Great job!
Cassie Memmer10/28/05
Life! To be able to laugh at trying situations is a gift! What a blessing!
Deborah Porter 11/01/05
Betsy, congratulations on your highly commended award for Level 2! You also ranked 22nd overall - out of 147 entries. So really, you did extremely well. Congratulations again. With love, Deb (Challenge Coordinator)
Beth Muehlhausen01/20/06
Awwww, I felt sorry for all of you...but, good lesson!