Campfire story 1 of 2
Rick Clements (rickcl@POGO.WV.TEK.COM)
Tue, 7 Jun 1994 12:48:14 PDT
I've told this story to our Webelos Den before our first campout
togther. I told it again around the campfire this weekend. The boys
enjoyed it both times. I've told it at Toastmasters, and adults enjoy
Cheaper In The Off Season
c1993 Copyright by Rick Clements, non-commercial distribution permitted.
This copy right must remain with the story if you are reproducing it,
but isn't require telling the story.
When I was in college, several of us decided to go canoeing on the
Little Man. We camped near Irons, Michigan. We saw several pumper
stickers that said, "Where in the heck is Irons, MI?" If you can't find
Irons on a map, hold up your left hand so you can see the back. Irons
is a little above the left side of a wedding ring if you are wearing
It was early in the year to go camping in Michigan. But we were able to
get cheap rates for camping and canoeing by going in the off season.
(Something very important for college students.)
We met in one of the parking lots on campus. It was sunny and warm in
the parking lot as we waited for people to arrive. When everyone had
arrived, we had quite a Mountian of gear. In fact, the mountian of gear
looked larger than the cars. We started to shove the mountian of gear
into the cars. When we got near the bottom of the mountian, it was a
lot of work to get everything shoved into the trunks of the cars. But,
we finally got everything into the trunks. Someone would sit on the
trunk lid to get it closed. Then, we would open the trunk and stuff in
the ends of bags that were hanging out. Someone would sit on the trunk
to get it closed again. Finally, all the cars were loaded.
Someone asked, "is everyone here?"
Jim replied, "we have to pickup Karen on the way."
I asked, "Where are we going to put her? There isn't any room."
Jim answered, "Someone can sit on the laps of the people in the back
This was possible because it was before there were any seat belt laws.
But, it was still a three hour drive; even at 70 MPH. (Which was the
speed limit back then.)
When we got to Karen's house, she came out caring a suit case in each
hand. [pause] She had a garbage bag under each arm. [pause] She had a
pillow under her chin. (This was a weekend trip!)
Jim ask, "Which one of those are you taking?"
Karen protested that she needed everything. Jim showed her the car.
She continued to insist it was all necessary for a weekend campout.
After Jim started to leavc, she decided the two garbage bags could under
her feet in the front seat. The pillow could go in her lap. And, the
suit cases could go in the house. We couldn't put gear under the feet
of the people in the back seat and expect them to hold a person on their
We arrived at camp after dark, and we needed to find a good sitefor our
tents. Many of the people had never camped before. But the experienced
people in our group used a method to pick a site for our tests used by
many a great explorer. (We selected a site directly in front of the car
Since it was late and college students like to eat, some of us pitched
tents while the others started dinner. As we got the tents pitched, we
traded off helping with dinner, so the others could pitch their tents.
We got all the tents up, and it was time for dinner. We were having
sloppy joes. I was looking forward to dinner partly because I like
sloppy joes and partly because it was more of a midnight snack than a
It took a big bite of the sloppy joes and started to chew. I spit it
out and asked, "who salted the sloppy joes?"
"I did", said Jim.
"I did", said Karen.
"I did", said Bob.
"I did", said Steve.
"I did", said Barb.
"I did", said Debbie.
"I did", said Joe.
"I did", said Randy.
"I did", said Dave.
"I did", said Sally"
Finally everyone had confessed to salting the sloppy joes. There was
quite a line for the water jug. I decided to go strait to the pump.
Have you ever tried using a pump with one person? You pump and pump and
pump and pump and finally the water starts to flow. Your run around the
front and cup your hands under the pump and get a few drops of water in
our hand. You run back and pump again. You pump until the water starts
flowing again. You run around the front, cup your hands and you get a
few drops of water in your hands. Finally, you are tired enough that
you loose interest in the water.
After dinner it was time for the second worst thing about camping. (No,
not doing the dishes.) It's crawling into that COLD sleeping bag. You
get undressed and crawl in. It's like chopping a hole in the ice and
jumping into the cold water. But, eventually, you warm up and drift off
Morning comes. It's now time for the worst part of camping. Getting
out of that warm sleeping bag. While I laid there convincing myself I
really should get up, I could hear someone had already started the fire.
I decided I could get dressed quicklyand run over to the fire. That
would minimize the shock of the cold on my body. So, I laid out all the
cloths, got out of the sleeping bag, jumped into my pants, thew on a
shirt and coat, and shoved on my socks and shoes. I thew open the tent.
IT SNOWED LAST NIGHT!
I looked around and a white blanket covered everything. As I walked
over to the fire, I thought to myself, I'm not nuts enough to go
canoeing in this weather.
About then Jim walked up and said, "Are we going canoeing in this
I replied, "SURE! Are you going to let a little snow stop you? Besides,
it will all be melted by the time we get on the river."
Several people already had canoeing partners already. Many of us
didn't. I was one of the people without a partner. I noticed Debbie
standing by her self.
So, I asked her, "Do you have anyone to canoe with?"
Debbie replied, "No."
I asked, "Would you like to canoe with me?"
She said, "Yes. Could I be in the back?"
I asked, "Have you ever been canoeing?"
"No", she said.
I asked, "Ahh, you know that the person in the back does the steering?"
She replied, "Yes."
Rick Clements Rick.Clements@tek.com
People are like tea bags, you don't know what's inside until they're in hot
Terry Howerton Sakima Group, Inc. SCOUTER Magazine Kansas City