Monday, April 13, 2020

Backyard camping.

COVID-19 can cause sore throats, hacking dry coughs, and headaches as some of its symptoms. It can cause anxiety, anger, loneliness, concern, and a bit of stir-craziness, especially if kids are stuck in the home as well.

When I was a wee bit of a young’un, I think around three years old or so, I stayed at my Aunt Sue’s house overnight. I was the oldest of the cousins on that side of the family, and Sue hadn’t sprouted any offspring as of yet, so I was kind of the family novelty. At least, that is the way I like to remember it.

Sue had a train track that ran behind the house, and I was fascinated with the rumble of the ground, the low-pitched horn, and the massive size of the long locomotives hauling various goods. 

That night, Aunt Sue pitched a tent in her back yard. To the best of my memory, and anyone trying to remember just a few weeks back can attest to this, my memory may not have all the details correct, but as said, to the best of it, we had peanut butter sandwiches while sitting in the tent. We probably drank some sort of Kool-Aid, cherry, strawberry or grape in all likelihood.

I also thing we had some type of snack as well. Maybe some Nabs as we called them back then. But whatever it was, it was memorable and exciting enough for me to still think back on it some 47 years later.

We had a flashlight and would shine it around the yard, looking for bears and tigers I am sure. Every now and then a lightning bug would flicker its little yellow/green beacon as if it were responding to our light.

And then I felt the rumble. I heard the metal on metal of the train on the tracks. The horn blasted. Yes, as a three-year-old, I was pretty much in Heaven for toddlers.

I bring this short story up for a reason. We are all mostly in some type of lockdown. Yes, the type of confinement varies county to county and town to town, but we have all been asked to stay put, with little public interaction.

Remember those kids I mentioned in the opening to this column? Now is the time to make some memories such as the one that stuck with me so long.

Take a tent and pitch it in the yard. Boredom for a youngster will go away immediately! Take a coupe of hot dogs and some chips and a lantern or flashlight. Roast the hot dogs over an open flame. East them by hand with no bun. Take the lights and sweep through the tree branches and leaves looking for squirrels, or even bears and tigers.

Don’t have kids? It doesn’t matter. Break the routine. You don’t have to go to some vast wilderness to create your own mini adventure.

And while you are out there, share a few ghost stories, or maybe reminisce about your first-time camping, even if it was in the backyard.

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