Friday, July 18, 2014

Padre Packing

Well, Readers I don't know if I have blogged  much about how Padre loved preparing for summer hiking, and outdoor camping and how he passed down the love to us, or not.
(another sentence needing scrutiny by an English grad)
But he did. He did love it, and appears to love it now.Or so it seems....
His behavior on some of the latest ones is making me wonder if it has all been a facade!
Recently, when he was told about an upcoming camp out, and then the time for the camp out came, Padre sprung into action by leaving the house to run errands.
(Which is part of his preparation for camping; do things at the last minute. )
It must be when he works best cause we have had some long preparation moments the night before an excursion.

Were it not for cell phones and texting, Readers,  I would have had no clue that he was on an errand to help J. pack for the overnighter. Because we were packing and actually done, it was news to me that he was 'helping.'

J. had lugged his back pack up the stairs, through the tight place on the landing that is called The Eye of the Needle cause you have to suck in and move side ways to get past the fridge and door frame that opens onto the landing. The kitchen garbage is to the right and is a good reference point for your feet as you accomplish this difficult task. We could remove the door and gain an inch of space but grand kids fall down the stairs, so we limit that possibility with the door and just have to,, literally, suck it up.

So J. made it past the Eye, where he had to do like many travelers going to Jerusalem and that was unpack their camels, then repack them once inside the gates. scouts

J. happily had tippy -toed and wrestled his back pack through the door all because a camp out lay ahead! Anything was worth enduring at this point! He was almost home free! The only thing that held him back from the great outdoors and roughing it, was almost over!

 He placed his heavy pack leaning against the steps to wait for the leader to pick him up.
With his fishing pole strapped to his pack, we sat there,  on the hard porch, when suddenly
Padre pulled up into the drive way. He held J's tackle box, retrieved from the trailer, out the window and before he'd even put the truck into park, and before we had even stood up, he started to tell us something about how fishing poles get broken.

(this was the last hurdle standing between J. and camping. )


I hollered over the wind and his motor which was still running.
He sighed and put the truck into park.

Him: "I'm a blah, blah Wal-Mart, blah,blah fishing pole."

Me: "Wal- Mart is a fishing hole?"

Him, looking exhausted probably because he needs to use that CPAP machine in his room for oxygen, shook his head and answered a few decibels louder:
" I bet you that a fishing pole, attached to a back pack like that, and going with a bunch a boy scouts
is as likely to break as... "


 seems I have already forgotten his analogy.

(what's up with the crutch? do you see it? Shows what happens when boys get together; injuries. i.e. football)

 Either way the assemblage of boys that age, or any age, must mean that they would get horsing around, up to some sort of sha-nan-agains, and before anyone knew it, a fishing pole would be broken. Or some body's tooth knocked out.
Padre simply didn't trust that many kids together could end in anything but disaster.

Ya see, Padre has a sixth sense for bad things happening and so he prepared for them and had little mottoes for us as we went through childhood, our teen years, and adulthood.

One of those motto/rules/good ideas to live by was:

Just Sleep In Your Own Bed.

I don't think this was necessarily to keep us out of trouble for toilet papering a person's house or anything but mainly he just enjoyed his own bed, had been to Vietnam for crying out loud! He MUST have known something we didn't!

It was there that he realized that a hot shower is important at the end of the day, regardless of whether you'd rolled around in rice paddies or that there were sand bugs that got into everything, even your food. And no matter how late, nor whether you fell asleep in the car, ya needed to get a good shower before getting into bed.

And I think he had this motto so as to avoid having mom pull the car out late at night and come get us because we feigned we were scared and couldn't make it til morning in Grandma's creaky house twenty minutes away.


As you can imagine,  this motto made going, to say, girl's camp and Adventure Camp, a bit hard. 
J. is now finding it hard to earn his scout badges for overnights whilst incorporating  these life lessons or "mottoes."

Can you imagine how difficult?
There we are, camping and the stars start to blink on and the sky turns pitch black and we have back packed in at least 7 miles.
The fire has cooked dinner and the stories are getting started. Smoke is moving around the group like a clock, all the campers are sitting on fallen logs or rocks and staring at the oranges, yellows and blues of the fire. And we are wondering how to get back to our own bed.
(I say we because I have a big family that were all taught the same mottoes.)

Finally the moon appears and the realization that it is high time you start the trek back home to sleep in your own bed has come.

 Re-assuring  the leaders as I struggled to take down the tent in the pitch dark, and then  locate a flashlight to help me avoid spraining an ankle on the rocks built into the trail is tough.

Convicing them I'd be back bright and early in the morning, so not to worry!, didn't work. So they convinced me to stay.

So fast forward to when Padre was giving  me a percentage of fishing poles that could survive such a trip and not get broken......

I forget the statistics Pa raddled off to me in the drive way before he sped off.

It was

 two minutes

before his ride was to arrive.
 Padre decided to go to Wal-Mart's Fishing Hole to get a cover for J.'s fishing pole at the last minute.

"Where and what are doing again?" I'd asked futile before he scrambled away.

 Something about protecting the pole, and having to get his truck washed. It was really hard to understand.


It left J. and I some moments to have a pow wow about his gear, if we'd forgotten anything, and to say a prayer. I let him do the honors then said one myself.

"....and please bless my fishing pole... that I will be able to catch some fish this time. Oh, and bless my mom that she can endure being around Padre."

Aren't the prayers of the children so innocent and sweet?

(okay this isn't totally what he said. but close. the part about the poles is true. Sorry, J.)

The Scout Master. By Norman Rockwell
The ride appeared and I helped J walk to the car.
(can't hold much with a sprained hand and broken body)
so that left him balancing under a heavy pack, holding his tackle box, and his fishing pole.

Once we reached the curb, I asked his leader if the other kids had brought fishing poles.
I don't know why. Maybe I was worried J. didnt actually need one on the trip, or whatever.

(The Catch by Norman Rockwell)


he assured me as he opened the back of the jeep and I uttered foolishly:
"Do they [fishing poles] have covers for them?"

Confused Leader and Father: "Covers?"

he asked looking at me as if I was on prednisone or something.
Me, wearing a shirt from J's orthodontist that talks about smiles gettin' used:

"Yeah, to protect them from getting bro ...."

My voice trailed off as I gazed into the back of the jeep. There, attached to the back of several scout's packs, were fishing poles. Haphazardly bare against the unknowns of a camp out, thrown into the jaws of  unruly boy scouts on a camping trip, were the innocent and very spindly, fishing poles.

 They looked much like J.'s had been earlier; casually strapped to the bag.

Suddenly my brain recounted all the pictures of kids through out the ages from Huck Finn til now, and I could not recall covers over the fishing poles.

Even the ones made out of sticks and string....
Not one branch had been wrapped in a gun case quality covering to protect them from nature.
"...ken. Did I say fishing pole covers?  To protect their poles from breaking? Sorry, just a small relapse in the brain. Comes from a childhood of being teased by The Torment  er, uh- thanks for taking him! Good luck! "

I kissed J. good-bye and as soon as the jeep had rounded the corner,  I immediately dialed my mom's number. I had to let her know that Padre had set me up to look like I didn't know how to pack!


(I don't know whether Padre was able to pick up a cover and get to the church in time. For J's sake, it came home unbroken. And he didn't mention any kids teasing him about being outfitted and prepared. Need to do more research before blogging I guess.)

Anyway, this little exchange and preparation reminded me of my childhood camping days and how I learned the ropes of

Packing, Preparation, Preparedness, and Preparation H.

 We had a camper on the back of our truck that had a full sized, comfortable striped mattres in it -w

 'The Gray Diablo.' as our truck was knick named made for many a memory of camping.
(* see extra story included below about the truck)Boy-scouts1_11729668_tcm11-17574

 Apparently I loved camping so much by the age of TWO, that I cried when we sold a different piggy back camper on the truck, I referred to it as

 "The Campin."
This melted Padre's heart and he set out to buy the proper equipment for us to camp! (canteens, plastic cups and other kitchen necessities. Bins and basins for cleaning up afterward, black sleeping bags with the softest insides that had pictures of deer running on red material and stuffed with down feathers from some goose back east.

He still has all of his initial camping equipment. Aside from the stuff borrowed and lost. I don't know if any of the equipment is still usable. But they are in the same package and could be returned if the company that sold them, still existed.
 Padre's ability to give us the impression he liked camping was some good acting. But, it seems, that all along he was deceiving us.

Yup, Padre didn't especially enjoy camping as he just liked the part where you
to camp, hike, climb, golf, walk, and /or breathe.
And then I think he hoped that he would enjoy it. But in the end, he really just wanted to get back home, have a hot shower, and sleep in his own bed.
All the Kodak slides of us kids in the wilderness and Padre smiling as he cooked over a kerosene stove top, were a charade!
He wasn't having fun! He was torturing himself like someone who walks across hot coals or shards or glass does for a living.

 I started to pick this up as I aged. For instance, when I was of the age of 10 or so, we  arrived in a campground after a long day of packing which gave us a late start and we ended up in the campground around dinnertime.
Padre had pulled off the highway and onto the gravel dirt road in Island Park and
 (a stone's throw from I.F.)
he slowly wound  the car along the  figure eight pathway of the campground.

 I guess he  figured it would be a lot of work to actually unpack what he'd packed only to have to re-pack and unpack at home, because the car kept driving until it had slowly inched back to the entrance of the campground. With one final push on the gas pedal he pulled the sub up over the lip of dirt and highway and we ended up back at home.
It was a good thing the park is not that far from home or else the ride would have been that much more painful.

Us kids cried or whined,  cause we were under the impression we were gonna actually stay. Which would requite that we unpack. What threw me off of the fact that we weren't really going to stay and this was actually just a preparation drill like the military uses, was when Mom would say:
"Craig, that looks like a good spot."
 And Padre would shake his head that it wasn't.
 Padre was able to fool us by saying the reason we weren't staying was because us kids had been fighting in the car ride the whole way there or something.
Wha?? we would look at each other
 in surprise.

And then a look of blame toward the other person for being the worst on the car ride.
Had we only been warned that the consequence was having to load and pack everything, drive there, then drive home- we would have sat next to each other and not even acknowledged we were blood relatives!
(this photo of a family happily camping is cute. It must have been a "before" picture. It is entitled Family Camping by Joseph Csatari.)

However it was really hard to just nod your head when The Torment was, well,tormenting you.
I was smart enough or able to get him to quit teasing me by just acting like nothing was happening.
This took some serious strength. And a course in acting helped. 
Younger siblings were not so fortunate, unfortunately.
Sister  1 would immediately pull her thumb out of her mouth and shreak or bawl.

 Which was Exactly the response he was looking for. I was so gratefu that playing mute saved me from this torture.
His teasing regimen included things like poking, prodding, nasal fluids being swished around his mouth, and other forms of torture that only Heads of State know about cause they avoid using them for fear of being sued by actual terrorists from terror cells through out the world, and implicating our president.

It is all under wraps! Top notch security holding that info.
Another down side to the teasing was the bad habits it created, like swearing for instance.
Sure thumb sucking, nail biting, and slight tics were all part of most kids' child hoods. However, some of us believed that they were side effects of The Torment.

 Most of these habits  passed, except for the occasional desire to utter a swear word of course.
( when something painful or an accident almost occuring in traffic are the tipping points.)

This post is getting long. I am gonna stop now. Maybe I will get to the story about the truck and how embarrased I was one night when I took it to a basketball game in HS. I dunno.
I'm stinkin tired. Anyone else?

Gonna go to bed. In my OWN bed!

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