Life Lessons


I’m sitting in a parking lot watching a bunch of teenage girls flap their hands in despair at the task at hand – figure out how to set up their tents before Monday. Monday is D-day. Or in their world when they leave for Girls Camp and actually have to set the blasted things up. AND, sleep in them.

Tents are confusing. I’ll admit that. I remember my childhood when the tent material was much less techie involved actual aluminum polls and tents made out of canvas. It took three of us kids to haul the bag out of the back of the van under my fathers watchful eye. His order – “Set up the tent! I’m going to get the fire started.”

At this point I’m the oldest AND a rebellious teenager. Camping was not my thing. Heat, sweat, humidity, oh, and let’s not forget the bugs, REALLY not my thing. So, setting up the tent with younger siblings? So, not amused. But it had to be done.

So, we picked the spot in the camp site with the least amount of visible bumps and lumps. Laid out the tarp, let’s make it difficult for creepy-crawlies to make it up from the bottom. And set about laying out and staking the tent to the ground.

Threading them through the different loops to make the floppy structure stable. After much muttering, prodding and tormenting the sibs – voilà! the tent rose from the ground. Then my father would inspect the work. Giving it a final seal of approval. Something always had to be adjusted. If it was only a stake, we knew we’d done a good job.

I can’t tell you how many times I assembled a tent in my childhood, at least twice a summer. But apparently the lessons learned never went away. I found myself in the middle of the madness, spreading out tents, instructing girls in the fine art of tent set-up and take down.

I felt my father’s belly laugh as I helped pack up the last tent into its proportionally too small bag.

“Somethings are life lessons. Camping is one of them!” so said the Old Scout.

Thanks Dad.

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About Leila

I hail from the East and view the world as my playground. I'm opinionated. My dog is my co-pilot, but my cat navigates better. I'm only limited by my imagination. While there are terrible things that happen in the world I am responsible for making good things happen where I live, and that affects the world at large making it a better place.
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3 Responses to Life Lessons

  1. Messy Musings says:

    I remember one summer we went camping & fishing every single week! Of course we had a camper (real beds, a stove and refrigerator). I never slept in a tent until I went to girls camp as a teenager. Now that I am older (and hopefully wiser) I just rent a hotel room!!

  2. C. says:

    I once broke an “unbreakable” fiberglass tent pole trying to set the blasted thing up. Shattered it. It was impressive.

  3. Leila says:

    Everything breaks. It takes genius to make it memorable!

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