A father-son camping excursion

The Little Professor’s Boy Scout troop went on a camping trip to Antietam over the weekend. Since my idea of camping is settling for a Holiday Inn, I sent the Long Suffering Husband.

Of course something went wrong – I have to admit, it caught even me by surprise, and I should know better. Nothing runs smoothly. If it did, I’d have nothing with which to fill this column space.

I had a “gear list.” What gear we did not have, I purchased earlier in the week, including a Swiss Army knife. I needed a Swiss Army knife to get through the packaging. You should have seen me hacking (and cursing) at it with a steak knife. I bought the LSH hiking socks. I love hiking socks. The manufacturers promise they will do just about everything but keep their feet from smelling.

The gear list didn’t have extra underwear and socks on it – they were supposed to pack “light” – but I sent some, anyway. There’s roughing it, and then there’s roughing it in wet socks.

I packed about 80 percent of the bag the day before. The LSH took the day off so they could leave as soon as the kids got out of school. All he needed to do was drop my car off at the shop and finish packing the bag.

I went to work, ran out to Hickory for an interview and was scheduled to pick up the LSH at home and the kids at school before meeting up with the troop in Burgettstown.

I should have known it was going to blow up in my face when I picked everyone up on time and we were on pace to reach the meet-up on time. I was feeling very organized and adult.

That was when the LSH realized he left the second sleeping bag on the chair near the front door. They both had to have a sleeping bag – the forecast was calling for overnight lows in the 30s. (This sort of thing is why I stick to the Holiday Inn.)

“That’s OK,” I told him. “I’ll just nip over to Big Box Store and pick up another one. We can always use another sleeping bag.”

(Yeah, for the Sassy Saint. I am not sleeping in a giant cloth baggie.)

But I didn’t. Because, while I was on my way, he called – he also left the medical forms at the house. So I had to drive all the way back home, pick up the sleeping bag and medical forms (and flashlight and anything else he forgot) then return with them – a round trip of roughly an hour.

Then, he started calling me.

“Are you there yet?”

“No.” The problem with cellphones is you can’t slam them. Angrily jabbing at the touch screen is nowhere near as satisfying.

“You’re driving a little fast,” Sassy mentioned. “Should you be driving so fast?”

“Possibly not,” I admitted, easing up on the gas.

In the end, I delivered the rest of the equipment (without having a stroke), and they went on their merry way. I am told the Little Professor was in his element, giving out mini-history lectures left and right.

He came back slightly singed, despite my having sent a baseball cap and sunblock to avoid just this very thing. I was going to be mad about it – until I saw the LSH.

He looked like a lobster. Karma is a funny thing.

(Wallace-Minger, The Weirton Daily Times community editor, is a Weirton resident and can be contacted at swallace@pafocus.com)