My niece, on monsoon night...
Ever gone camping in the middle of a major storm? Trust me, you’d remember. This last week, my family went camping—as we do every year—in paradise. Think stunning Oregon forest, horseback riding, swimming in the crystal clear river, jumping off the rocks into said river, something called ‘barn-hockey’ for the kids, tons of food and a fantastic friend (Jill, you rock!) with a supercallafragelistic family willing to share interesting (and hilarious) stories of ranch life with this writer. It was all of that this year, too, but the weather—as it has been around the world—was…different.
One day in particular was soggy, but as night approached, so did a seriously ominous bank of black clouds.
“Oooo,” we giggled, “Looks like we’re gonna get a little wet.” So naive.
Our family fits into three tents: the two-man tent for the boys, the six man tent for the girls—sans the 6 men, of course—and the eight man tent for the hubby and me and the dogs. As usual, the boys passed out the minute their heads hit the pillow. The girls on the other hand (all teenagers, and my wild woman niece—age 24 going on 13) were all enjoying being nutballs and laughing themselves half silly in midst of this wilderness slumber party. I decided to let their shenanigans carry on, cuz I’m super cool and, okay, too lazy to get up and tell them to pipe down.
When the first crack of thunder sounded, the girls all shrieked and giggled. The hubby and I grinned at each other. Fun, huh? The flashes of lightning brought some concerned squeaks from the girls, but it was tempered by more laughter. Then the downpour hit. And I’m not talking the drips and drabs of Wendy’s shower. Oh, no. This was as if a giant cosmic ladle, perhaps the big dipper? yeah, dumped a lake on us. The thunder got louder, and the lightening brighter and the squeals higher.
Still, I wasn’t concerned. After all, the girls had been noisy all evening. I figured the trees all around us would catch any stray lightning bolts and so deluded, drifted off to sleep. Around 2ish, the boys appeared at our door (flap) soaked to the skin, shivering and mad as wet roosters.
“Our tent is gone! Our beds are flooded!”
Odd. Then again, we had cots and a stronger tent. “Well, come on in.” I took one ice-cube boy in my bag, the hubby took the other in his. The girls were still laughing—I thought—as their shrieks started to rival the howls of the hurricane. After all, if there was a problem, they’d tell us, right?
Wasn’t till the next morning I woke up to find the girls all huddled in the minivan, their tent now an above ground swimming pool, their beds sagging floatation devices, their mascara running, their joi de vivre a thing of the past. Not laffin’. No, my niece was snoozing in at shotgun, scrunched and drenched. Daughter number three was packed into the middle row and the older daughters slept sardine style in the back.
Took the entire day—and—half a pile of firewood to dry ‘em out.
Thankfully, the remainder of the week was sunny. And now (after resting for 24 whole hours at home) we are headed to the beach for more life in the old tent, this time with the kid’s high school crowd. The weather is looking a little sketchy, so I’ll probably be piling into the minivan with a
dozen (or more) teenagers if we aren’t washed out to sea first.
Wendy? If you don’t hear from me by…say…Thursday? Call the Coast Guard.