September 2012

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laugh Camp it Up By Laura J. Gallagher I used to go camping. Of course, I used to do many things I now find patently ridiculous, like listen to Shaun Cassidy records, dye my hair spaghetti-sauce red, and drink wine coolers. But I also used to go camping. Most of my camping trips were with Girl Scouts, in which I was " " That part of camping—crafting under the stars—still sounds like fun. The rest of it, though, sounds gawdawful. There were tons of crafts too, and my mom, who rocked that aspect of mom-ness, always came up with really cool projects. We tie-dyed everything in sight (it was the '70s), and we also made jewelry, threw pots, churned butter and made our own bows and arrows. That part of camping—crafting under the stars—still sounds like fun. The rest of it, though, sounds gawdawful: Trying to cook a meal over a fire—heck, having to start a fire. Pitching tents and hop- ing you don't end up sleeping on a rock. It always rains. Walking in the dark to go to the "bathroom." You always forget something and it's not like you can just run to the store. Ugh. And it's not that I hate nature or getting dirty, far from it. Our heavily involved and my mom was troop leader. Oh, dear Juliette Gordon Low, what was going through your head when you were coming up with activities for pre-teen and teenage girls? "Well, we can teach them how to cook and sew and…I know, let's take them into the woods for a weekend and make them use outhouses. Twelve-year-old girls will love that!" The odd thing is that I actually remember enjoying it, and I re- member my fellow scouts enjoying it as well. There was never one of those "oh, you girls" episodes where someone wondered where to plug in her curling iron or screeched like a dental drill after seeing a bug or mouse. That's not to say there wasn't any drama or excitement—some of it nature-made, some of it girl-made. One camping trip was rudely interrupted by a tornado; it was only an F0, but that was enough for me thankyouverymuch. I've never seen a more beauti- ful sky than the one overhead as we made our way to safety in the lodge, where Cheryl promptly threw up. Someone always got sick, and my mom, who was not terribly unnecessary. If you want pets, you're going to have to clean up their hair and messes, no two ways about it. If you want dinner, though, you don't have to build a fire, catch a fish, look for the right size and shape stick to hold it over the fire with, hope that the fish is done before the fire is, and wrestle the bear that comes ram- paging through the woods because he smells food. There's a great Chinese place six blocks away. They have seafood. If you have to go to the bathroom, you don't have to dig a hole, house is full of animals—and animal hair. I don't mind scoopin' poop. Bugs don't scare me, or even gross me out. Except for that fat earwig in the shower the other day. He was chuckling, I swear. The difference is, I think, that most facets of camping seem so or walk through the woods to some Unibomber-esque shack that stinks to high heaven, hover over a piece of wood with a hole in it, pray that there's toilet paper, then walk back through the woods while the music from "Friday the 13th" runs through your head. Just walk down the hall toward that door marked "Restroom." I think that's what I most like about where I live—I can walk down adept at that aspect of mom-ness, was stuck taking care of some random girl. She had to do the whole "do you want us to call your parents, or do you want to stay? Here's some soda and crackers. I'll check up on you again in a little while" thing. It wasn't like at home, where she could whip a box of Kleenex at me, shut my bed- room door, and tell me, "Yell if you need anything, but try not to." the street to the lake. I can walk two blocks to the woods. Then I can walk home to air conditioning, comfy furniture and scotch. And that damn earwig. Laura J. Gallagher is a long-time communications professional. When not teasing her husband, Triple M's Pat Gallagher, she is on Facebook at the Laura J. Gallagher page! ••• 80 BRAVA Magazine September 2012

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