Camping in the Rainforest

When the skies give you gray clouds and rain, make a slip and slide.

The camping trip resembled Hell if not for all the water. Flame for a campfire couldn’t be conjured with a blow torch. The camp stove saved us from starvation. Did I mention we slept in a tent with a five-year-old, a tent that leaked?

            Our daughter was half mermaid when she was young. Leave the step stool out, and she dragged it to the sink and splashed merrily for hours. Bath time turned her into a wrinkled, mini elder. She danced in the rain. To our kid, the camping trip was a gift from God, and we were here for a glorious week! Funny how perspective worked, one person saw a flood. Another beheld a water park.

            Like it or not, we paid for a non-refundable week-long vacation during a monsoon. We put on our child-like glasses and dealt with it. The kid needed to learn that her parents weren’t wimps. The trip built the foundation for the teen years.

            So as not to waste fifty bucks on camp fees, we made a trip to the closest Walmart. We spent most of our remaining cash on a tarp and placed it over the picnic table. Pancakes sopped in syrup, yum. Pancakes soaked with water, yuck.

            We opted to raise ourselves above the river without hope for a dry tent. Camp mats proved too pricey. Pool floats were an affordable option. We chose our favorite colors. Out of my favorite color, blue, I settled for green. The green bastard dropped me to the wet tent floor sometime during the second night. Three bucks wasted. A blue float would never let me down.

            The three wasted dollars could’ve been spent at the camp store. This pissed me off more than being dumped back into the river. The camp store had a roof. Ice cream bliss and a dry place to hang out were shot to hell if Hell was depicted as a rainforest instead of a fiery volcano.

            The rainforest camp trip set the precedent for the next few years. Who am I kidding? It set the example to follow for life. When the skies give you gray clouds and rain, make a slip and slide.

            The tarp over the picnic table dropped buckets of water around the perimeter. The square around the table resembled a wallow. Try to keep a five-year-old mermaid out of the rain and mud. We didn’t and became the best parents of all time until our kid turned six.

            For entertainment, some kids required ten thousand dollar vacations to hang out with mice. Fortunately, lions and stampedes were popular that year instead of a princess story. Our child was content to make like a warthog and romped in mud puddles. How lucky were we?

            I bagged her clothes and tossed them at day’s end. Forget bleach. Gamma rays couldn’t penetrate the soil embedded in the cotton fibers. The price of clothes was small compared to a day of cheap, simplified bliss.

            Did we go camping again? Many times, we’re enthusiastic. As modern-day pioneers, we’ve been raided by raccoons, eaten by swarms of mosquitoes, and annoyed by gnats in biblical plague proportions. We took trips in the name of fun. Gosh, we are senseless.

            In hindsight, I recall the rainforest camp trip with fondness. I let my child be a kid. Our daughter helped us remember what life was like before mud became unacceptable.

Published in Funny Times-October 2022

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