Friday, June 5, 2015

Be Prepared

First off, I don't have a picture.

I did stand there and think, "I need to go get my camera." Troy's first question was, "Did you get a picture?" But, no. I did not run to get my camera and, thus, there is no picture.

Scout camp was this past weekend and, since our ministry is largely focused on Sunday mornings, when everyone else is camping from Friday to Sunday, we're only camping from Friday to Saturday. While this was a bit of a bummer for the Scout, it ended up working out well on account of the fact that said Scout had to hike in flip flops and it was really better that we just head home instead of attending the interfaith Sunday morning worship service in crunchy pants.

It turned out to just be the Scout and me because the Scout's little brother made a series of very poor choices that led to his mother threatening, "If you do not improve this attitude and make good choices at school today, you will not be able to join us for our camping trip this weekend." These threats have always worked. That Friday, they most assuredly did not.

The Scout's little brother made a couple of unwise decisions at school which led to the losing of the coveted hand stamp and the remark by his teacher that involved the word "awful." So. The mother was put in the rather unfortunate situation of following through or being that parent who merely spouts idle threats and turns out ungrateful, self-centered adult children who think the world revolves around them.

I'm not about to willingly send those kinds of man-children out into society.

So we stuck to our parenting guns and Troy had to stay home with the misbehavior. As the little brother clung to me, sobbing, just before I left with the Scout, my heart broke into a thousand pieces and I wanted to tell him to jump in the car. The whole thing had been a joke. Of course he could still go camping. But it was a lesson that he needed to learn so I backed the car down the driveway to the tune of the Scout sadly saying, "Poor guy."

Since it was just us and since it was just one night, we took our smaller tent and just one change of clothes. The Scout had one pair of sturdy shoes. As an after thought, I had thrown in a pair of flip flops for him and a towel, just in case.

We arrived at camp and set up. Or, I should say, I set up while the Scout kept wandering off to play with his friends. Some scout he is. We roasted hot dogs for dinner and then the Scout and his pack went exploring. It was getting really cold and, whenever he checked in, I asked if he wanted to put on warmer clothes. The answer was always no.

I traipsed off to the bathroom to wash a spoon in the sink. As I exited, I saw my friend, Morgan, standing at the spigot. There was a great commotion of boys around her. Standing in the center of the crowd was a boy who looked like he'd been submerged, from the tips of his sneakers to his arm pits, in sticky, gooey mud. The child was a disaster. Upon seeing the sight, I paused. In the two seconds that followed, my mind raced to several thoughts. Oh my goodness. That child has to sleep in someone's tent or RV tonight. And I'm so glad someone else is dealing with that. And then the last one, Praise God that isn't Garrett. It looked like a chocolate dipped strawberry. If the child was the strawberry and the mud, chocolate.

Just as Morgan aimed the hose she saw me and uttered the words, "Do you want to look at your son first?" Simultaneously, I had recognized the back of his head, the color of the top of his shirt, and had experienced the realization that this was my boy and he would be sleeping in my tent. The fact that there were no showers at the campground also pricked the front of my conscious thought.

He'd fallen into a huge mud puddle, struggled to get out, and fallen again. Mud was splattered all over his face and in his hair. His ears had chunks of mud stuck in them. The clothes were 100% covered. I thought about running to get my camera but he was already so cold that I didn't want to delay the process of cleaning him up. In the chill of late evening, we sprayed him down with very cold water until the stream running off of him ran clear. Standing outside of the tent, I wrapped the towel around him and stripped him naked. He was convulsing, his teeth crashing together in a chattering symphony that suggested my child is one part stupidity, one part accident prone and entirely boy.

I put him, nude, into his sleeping bag, pulled it tightly around him, and then climbed on top of his bag. I wrapped my arms around his sleeping bag with the wet head poking out and vigorously moved them up and down to warm him. Eventually, the shivering waned. Once he was clad in warm pajamas and a jacket, we put him inside my friend's tent next to a propane powered heater until his hair dried. Then we moved him next to the fire.

His clothes and shoes were still so wet the next day that he had to wear his flip flops until we left that night. This included a two mile hike which was, thankfully, more like a leisurely stroll on mostly flat ground. Apparently, when the scouts say to be prepared, they mean that one should always assume their personal Scout plans to ruin his clothing options within three hours of setting up camp.

My new scout motto: Always bring two pairs of shoes as you just never know when your son is going to turn up looking like a Fudgsicle.


  1. Wait. My biggest question relates to this little gem:

    Once he was clad in warm pajamas and a jacket, we put him inside my friend's tent next to a propane powered heater until his hair dried.

    Um. What? Who the heck has a propane powered heater INSIDE their tent? What tent is large enough that a propane powered heater is safe within its nylon walls? And who calls sleeping inside a tent mansion with a propane powered heater "camping?"

    Also, every time I typed propane powered heater, I first typed propane powered heather. She might be mad if I reveal her secret to all your readers.

  2. I was wondering about the propane powered heater inside a tent. That doesn't sound safe to me.

  3. It was purchased at an outdoor recreation store and sold for the purpose of heating tents. They have a big tent and it was a pretty little heater. You hook it up to a bottle of propane. I have no idea how safe it is but since it was sold at a camping store, I'm hoping they know what they're doing. Since we were right there while he was getting his hair dried, I wasn't worried about his safety.