Camping Out Alone…for the first time…Poor Dude

Good morning to ya’ll this morning. Welcome back to Ridin’ Out the Recession in Miz Judi’s Kitchen with Deb and I both. I sure hope everyone’s doing fine today!

I was checking ole Deb out this morning listening to what she had to say to you good people. I think she did a fine job with her column this morning, on a subject that we both feel very strongly on…our children and our grandchildren!

Normally if I’m “butterin” Deb up, it’s usually on account of I’m in, or have been in the “doghouse” over something probably not of my doing! Then again, I may HAVE been the instigator, but indeed learned early on in our marriage, even if you really did do something…never own up to it!

Now after Deb speaking on the subject of morals and values in regards to our younger generation, that’s a heck of something to come outta my mouth this morning, isn’t it? Don’t own up to something.

Well, looking back that’s exactly what my Dad did from time to time, when I was younger. Make a statement which was a complete 180 from what he’d just told me…”Do as I say, and not as I do.” For the life of me back then, I just couldn’t see that making very much sense.

Being much, much older today, I see where that statement really does make sense to me, and the older I get, the more sense it makes! It’s kinda’ like doing something you know deep down that you really shouldn’t be doing, but you’ve reached the age that, shoot, you just go ahead and do it anyway!

Your kids catch ya’, out it comes… “Do as I say, not as I do!” Man, it just gets easier and easier!! Plus I know that if you guys would be honest with me, you do it too…don’t you? Sometimes it’s really a lot of fun to “get in trouble,” especially when you start reaching my age, and I gotta tell ya’, I see me progressively just getting worse and worse!

So to all you old fuddy-duddies out there, get up off the dern couch, have some fun, and get yourself in trouble a time or two, you just might…like it!

Well, with that off my chest this morning, I’d like to tell you all about an experience I had when I was just a kid…

Camping Out Alone…for the first time
If you really wanted to impress your friends this was one of the better ways to do so…camp out by yourself! This single act would do more for your “esteem” among your friends than, shoot, dern near anything.

This act would run through town like a “wildfire!” It was merely…instant celebrity status, head and shoulders above any other thing you could possibly do! You did that, nobody “jacked” with you from there on out, you had crossed over the invisible threshold…into manhood! Eight, nine, ten years old, no matter, to your buddies you were simply…the Man!

To camp out alone was no trivial matter. This took planning, and quite frankly, a lot of it.

We had a cocker spaniel back then and his name was Dude. Not like today’s “Surfer Dude,” but actually a short nickname for his registered name, which I can’t remember it all, but it was a mouthful, so…Dude it was.

Right off the bat the biggest problem to be faced was to campout far enough from your home to not be accused of “camping in your backyard!” But yet far enough away that if you did see, hear something, or even thought, one of those two may have actually happened, you could be back inside your home, in say 35-40 seconds! This was a no-brainer. Check.

Next, once you had your camping area of choice designated, there was plenty of work left to do. The first thing I did on the afternoon of my “big night,” was I mowed a strip from my campsite straight to the backdoor of our house. I then cleared any lawn furniture, lawn mower, water hoses, rakes, toys, just anything laying around that was anywhere close to my mowed down strip of lawn. Check.

A couple hours before dark I finished setting up my tent, arranged my sleeping quarters to my liking, then went back over it again making sure I hadn’t missed something…coverin’ my bases!

My Checklist
Backwall of Tent: Pocket knife… Check. Flashlight…Check. Batteries…Check. Comic books, Sport Magazine, and Boy’s Life…Check.
Rightside Tent Wall: Sleeping Bag and pillow…Check. Two hunting knives, another pocket knife, and baseball bat…Check. Two more flashlights and batteries. Check.
Leftside Tent Wall: Small cardboard box with potato chips, Fig Newton’s, slice of bock cheese, a pack of bologna, and ‘bout a half loaf a bread. Also 2 cans each of hot, grape and orange soda…Check. Another knife and a hatchet for good measure…Check.

Tent Entrance: NOT ONE THING! Just an open flap tied back, an unimpeded view of our backdoor from across the street at my campsite. Smooth sailing if the going was to get rough! Check!

It was about 45 minutes to black dark now and everything was ready…except me. I walked back up to our house to tell Mama and Dad I’d see ‘em in the morning, and was hoping they’d try to stop me, but no such luck.

Mama kissed me goodnight, and said if I needed them, to just come on back, and she’d leave the backdoor unlocked for me. I told her I’d be fine and Dad said have fun, but be careful.

I asked him to be careful of what? He just smiled and said yourself. I looked at him quizzically and asked what he meant by that? He just laughed and said, to be careful of all them knives missing from your room, that I’m assuming are in that tent of yours!

I kinda smiled and headed out. This crossing the line into manhood just to impress your buddies didn’t seem like such a big deal once that dern sun started dropping. Man!

Well, I went to my tent and settled in for the night. Boy, it sure seemed to be a lot darker than usual, and man, at the little noises going on. I popped me a soda, grabbed some chips, a piece of cheese and a couple pieces of bologna.

Things got better instantly, but the chips were concerning me to an extent. They made so much noise eating them, that I was kinda antsy someone would walk up on me, and me not hear cause of them dern chips crunching trying to eat them. Ah well, bologna and cheese was pretty good right by themselves, washed down with a hot grape soda. This camping alone wasn’t quite as bad as I’d expected.

I read some out of my comic books, and read the Boy’s Life cover to cover. By now my eyes were starting to get heavy and I thought I might as well turn in. So, I grabbed the hatchet, laid one of my hunting knives down beside me too, and laid the ball bat right there close.

I laid back and fell asleep before I knowed it. I must have been sleeping good cause I don’t think I even turned over, but I did wake up one time, thought about how impressed my buddies were going to be in the morning, and dozed right back off. This was a done deal!

Until them dern tom cats went to fightin! Them things woke me up from a dead sleep making all kinds of racket! First thing that came to mind was where was I? Second thing was…it ain’t at home. Third thing was, well, to be completely honest, there weren’t no third thing, except one foot hitting the ground right behind the other one…fast, very, very fast! My hatchet, knives, and ball bat, still in the tent, right where I’d left ‘em!

I was flying low, just as hard as I could go, thankful I’d had the foresight to mow the strip to the backdoor, and moved anything that might have tripped me up. Shoot, I even figured ¾ of a night out camping alone oughta’ count too!

Poor Dude

But again, mainly I was just so happy I’d took the precautions to get me from camp to the house with no problems in just a matter of a few seconds. I’d forgotten one thing though…DUDE, our dog!

That dog had laid down to sleep about halfway to the house from my camp, slap in the middle of my mowed down strip of lawn. About three o’clock in the morning, there was one bad wreck!!

I hit poor old Dude wide open, and when we hit, we got tangled up together, and musta’ rolled 100 feet or more, all wrapped up. Neither one of us knew what we was a fighting, but did know that right then at that second, we was indeed fighting for our very lives! Tooth and nail!

The outcome? Simple. Multiple, and I do mean multiple cuts, bites, bruises, scratches, gouges, tears, rips and a broke bone or two. It was one heck of a sight.

But you know what? It wasn’t more than two or three weeks later, and you couldn’t tell that dern dog had even been in a scrap. He got around as good, or better than before we’d even got in that tussle. It was amazing. I tell you what though, after we’d mow the grass, that sucker would lay on the porch till it growed back out some. Never again would ole Dude lay in fresh cut grass.

My buddies? You think they were impressed by my camping by myself for ¾ of a night? Not in the least! They came by two, three times a day just to check on poor ole Dude. For a dog to have got tore up so bad, that little feller never had it so good!

This tale I’d read about in a magazine when I was 8 or 9 years old. I’ve never forgotten it and shared it many times throughout my life. Everyone has always enjoyed it and hope you did as well!

I wish you all a great day, and God Bless!

Dub

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One Response to Camping Out Alone…for the first time…Poor Dude

  1. Bill Canada says:

    Now this has me rolling around on the floor laughing my sit down off.

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