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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Camping (07/11/05)

TITLE: Why Do We Do This?
By Hope Horner


“Mom! Rebecca won’t move over!”

Sharon hisses at her sister to move her leg “or else!” My two girls are tucked into their small, green, tent, rolled up like burritos in their Disney sleeping-bags. Their stomachs are full of canned beans, sliced hot dogs, and S’mores.

“Alison will you move over just a little bit and give your sister more room?” I poke my head into their tent.

“But I’m already as far over as I can go Mom! Look!” Alison demonstrates her point in grand fashion by thrashing about and making loud grunting noises. She usually likes being a twin, but not when she has to share a tent with her sister.

“C’mon you two, try to get some sleep. We are going to hike to the lake tomorrow. I can’t have you up all night.” There was just enough room in the tent for the two of them and their tiny pink flashlight. I smile and zip up their tent. “If you can handle being together in my tummy for nine months, then you can handle this!” The girls giggled as I walked away.

Unsurprisingly, I toss and turn all night on the world’s sharpest rock which positioned itself directly under my left hip. My husband and I get up eagerly with the sunrise. He trots off to get the fishing gear ready. As usual, the lines are tangled and the tackle box had tipped over, mixing up the lures and hooks. I creak into a standing position and fire up the Coleman stove on my twentieth try. I would make breakfast--which meant I would burn the eggs, pick leaves out of the coffee, and swat bees away from the orange juice. In front of me, the girls crawl out of their tent and rub their eyes. I sigh and wonder to myself…

Why do we do this?

Every year, we drag all our gear out of the garage-- tents, chairs, fishing poles, sun-block you name it—and stuff it into every crack and crevice of our station wagon. Then we drive for hours in the hot summer sun toward some distant campsite, praying the whole way that our car doesn’t overheat. Between the bathroom breaks and the intermittent tattling there is the age-old question, “Are we there yet?”

Remind me again…

Why do we do this?

Then if we’re lucky, we finally get to the campsite, but the fun doesn’t begin yet. Oh no. First, we must under-go the world’s most strenuous marriage test--putting up the tents--a task that challenges even the happiest Christian relationship. Finally, we cook dinner by moonlight, ignite marshmallows, and then toss and turn on a bed of rocks and sticks.

Ah camping.

Why do we do this?

“C’mon everyone! It’s breakfast time!” The girls are now back inside their tent. I could tell by their voices that they were playing with their Barbies.
You could do that at home! I almost yell out loud. Why not try to wittle a piece of wood into a bear or build a thatch hut? We didn’t come all the way out here for you to play with your dolls!

I take a deep breath and put the paper plates full of food on the wooden picnic table. One corner of the table is burnt—-an ominous scar from a past Hibachi disaster. Without warning, a bluejay swoops down, grabs a slice of bread and flies off.
“Hey!” I yell, but it’s too late, he’s already on his way to sharing this morsel with his family. I wonder if the noise I hear in the pine trees is the bluejays laughing at us as they wonder…

Why do we do this?

I call everyone again. Dad untangles himself from the fishing poles and the girls race barefoot out of their tent. We all sit down in front of our plates full of cold breakfast. The ants creep closer. We join hands to pray.

“Dear God,” my husband begins. “Thank you for this opportunity to spend time as a family. Thank you for all the beauty that surrounds us. Slow us down today so that we can enjoy it and in turn, enjoy you. In Jesus name, Amen.”

That’s why we do this!

I squeeze both my daughter’s hands and then let go with a loud “Amen!” We look down hungrily at our food and then up at each other.

Did I forget to pack the forks?

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This article has been read 1085 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Lynda Lee Schab 07/18/05
What a light, fun read! I enjoyed this one all the way through. Loved the "ah ha!" moment at the end. Well done!
Blessings, Lynda
Suzanne R07/19/05
It's almost like poetry with the 'Why do we do this?' between each stanza! And of course, that great resolution - 'This is why we do this.' Beautiful!
Karen Deikun07/20/05
Nicely done. Although I haven't actually been on a family camping outing, it all seemed familiar somehow. Nice wrap up at the end.
Nina Phillips07/20/05
That was that cute, and hilarious ending again. Makes me laugh. Delightful and witty. God bless ya, littlelight
Debbie OConnor07/21/05
Excellent work! I laughed all the way through with you and loved the ending.
Elisabeth Seiter07/21/05
very enjoyabel!
Penny Baldwin07/22/05
And don't forget the can opener! I always find the first night is the worst, when it comes to camping! Thankyou for reminding me why we do do it!
Shirley Thomas07/22/05
Very entertaining, but very realistic. I really enjoyed your article.
dub W07/22/05
A fun read. Very enjoyable. Thanks.
Val Clark07/22/05
Lovely, funny, insight into what it is to be a mum on a camping trip.
(Watch out for tense chages: 'walked away'.
Shari Armstrong 07/24/05
Nicely written and it reminds me of the trip we took last year -very last minute, and I forgot potholders and cooking utensils. I'll never forget the sight of watching my hubby cooking scrambled eggs with a plastic fork and a towel to get his much needed coffee pot off the fire.
Crista Darr07/26/05
Delightful read!
Deborah Porter 11/03/05
Hi Hope. I'm just preparing the new FaithWriters' Anthology and need a short (two to three sentences) bio piece to include in a new section for the book - "Meet Our Authors." The bio notes need to be written in the third person. Could you please send it to me via a Private Message? Thanks so much. Love, Deb (Challenge Coordinator)