I should have known we were in for trouble when the campground host lady, who was at least 80 years old, had to turn down her blasting Celine Dion CD to register us for our campsite. Even though I told her I had camped at Hanging Rock at least 30 times, she proceeded to read the entire list of rules to me, including that I was not allowed to use drugs and that I couldn’t pick up any wood off the ground to use for a campfire. When I innocently asked her if I could chainsaw down a tree and use it for firewood, she looked me square in the eye, smirked, and said, “I see you’re in campground 30. Good luck”.
The seven of us traveled to campground #30 and began to set up. Of course, all the kids wanted to help. Imagine the Oompa Loompas trying to put up a tent. Except my kids aren’t midgets and they’re not orange. After 15 minutes of almost poking each others’ eyes out, the tent was secure. We set out to meet our new neighbors.
At campsite #28, there were 4 families from various campsites who all congregated together. It was obviously the first time camping for all of them. How do I know this? They had staked their mansion like tent to the ground upside down. They all talked at Volume 11. They had a lantern that could have been used to land aircraft. They kept posing for pictures around the campfire while saying things like, “Eww, I got marshmallow on my fingers”. I could go on. I love newbies.
At campsite #32 were several men who looked like they had just come from a lawn mower race. They were hilarious, in a drunk on PBR kind of way. We watched as they stumbled around and told each other how much they loved trees and rocks and the confederacy. I love rednecks.
A timeline will best summarize what happened next:
6:30 p.m. – Noahlike Flood falls from the skies. Campfire destroyed.
7 – Ham sandwich falls to the ground and is stepped on. By me. Kids laugh as I eat it.
8 – Attempt to restart fire with full can of lighter fluid. New understanding of warning labels on lighter fluid saying not to do that exact thing.
8:01 – Woods catch on fire because of lighter fluid. Kids attempt to roast marshmallows in forest fire.
8:10 – Woman in campsite #28 throws hissy fit because she can’t get cell signal to upload picture of her in new rain gear to her Facebook page.
8:41 – Tent collapses because of rain.
8:42 – Kids scream they hate camping and want to go home.
9:02 – Campsite #32 starts Karaoke version of Sweet Home Alabama at the top of their lungs.
9:03 – I counter with a rousing version Oompa Loompa song.
10:06 – Campground host lady drives around in golf cart screaming at everyone that it’s quiet time.
2:03 a.m. – First bathroom trip for kid.
3:09 – Second bathroom trip.
4:26 – Third bathroom trip.
6 a.m. – More rain and realization that my shoes were left outside the tent.
8 a.m. – Pack up and go home.
9:23 – Back home. Kids say trip was a blast and they can’t wait to go again. I ask why it was so great. They say because they had my attention without any competition from the computer, tv, or phone.
9:24 – I tell them I love them and that I had a great time, too. And I thank God for all the different types of people there are in the world. And I resolve, yet again, to make sure I keep my priorities straight.