Roughin’ It

When we lived in NY, Laurie’s sister, Linda & her husband, Cris, had a beautiful camper up in Jellystone Park in Gardiner in upstate NY in the Catskills Mountains.

It was a wonderful, family-oriented campground and after spending some time up there with them, we decided to dip our feet into the proverbial campground pool as we purchased an old small trailer already sitting on one of the nearby sites.

It was a nice getaway for us on the weekends & in the summer…it was “cute”.

It was only 14’ long (compared to the 33’ one that my in-laws had). But it was more than enough for us!

The kitchen table folded down into a queen-size bed. There were 2 sets of bunk beds, a bathroom & a small kitchen.

What else did we need?

We had our small 9” B&W TV/radio for entertainment, Heather was still a baby & our dog, Dody, the big fat beagle, would always accompany us.

(“Dody” was how Heather first pronounced “dog”, hence, her name. We also had a cat called “Ca-ca”.)

As I said, the whole campground was pretty family-oriented so they always had something going on for the kids…hay rides, arts & crafts, games, scavenger hunts, movies at night, etc..

One of the kids’ favorites was when Yogi, Boo-Boo & Cindy Bear would come to visit during the late afternoon.

I’d often be goaded into dressing up in full costume…it was a giant, full-body mascot outfit!

I’d do Yogi & sometimes, Boo-boo, but no Cindy duty for me! 💪🏼💪🏼💪🏼

However, at the peak of summer, wearing those costumes in the heat of the day proved to be quite the endurance test! No type of ventilation in those things so after you finished your 15-min stint, you were completely drained & soaked.

But since it was all for the kids, everything was, er, “cool”!

And we had a few interesting experiences occur along the way…

One of the very first times that we went up to stay with my in-laws, we had just arrived & we were just standing around talking. They had their Airedale, Chester, with them & he loved running around the place.

We were engaged in conversation when I felt something funny on my leg.

That $&?#% Chester peed on my leg!!!

While I fully acknowledge that my lower extremities could very well be mistaken for tree trunks or fire hydrants at times, this dog had no issues whatsoever with his damned vision!

Another time, we were sitting around a small campfire one beautiful night. Being out in the “wilderness”, things tend to get pretty dark & pretty quiet.

Nice & peaceful.

At the campsite next to us, 2 couples were sitting in beach chairs right outside their camper door, with an overhead lantern…it was almost as if they were on stage with the way the light “framed them” in the darkness.

We happened to be sitting such that we were facing them (and away from the smoke emanating from our fire).

All of a sudden, a nearby voice in the darkness shrieks “Skunk!!!”

When we looked at our neighbors, there was, at first, a 2-second delay…and then 4 fairly-large adults all got out of the chairs simultaneously & tried to enter the camper door at EXACTLY the same time.

4 into 1 simply did not compute & it was absolutely hilarious to see, especially since it appeared that they were on the theatre stage. Just like watching an old-time silent movie!

We, meanwhile, calmly entered our camper.

Another time, Laurie, Heather & I went into a nearby town to have dinner. After a nice, relaxing meal, it was pitch black by the time we made it back to the campground.

As soon as we pulled onto the property & were about to turn onto one of the dirt roads leading to our site, we see this pair of eyes glowing in the dark, facing us in the middle of the road.

A deer? Baby raccoon?

I turned on my brights so we could get a much better look at this creature.

Nah, could it be? Was it?

Our fat li’l beagle, Dody!!!!

All of a sudden, she takes off down the road!

We could see that fat, squatty body hustling like hell in our headlights! And it was about 1/2 mile from the entrance to our site.

She even makes the sharp right turn to go down our particular row of sites/campers.

We pull the car up in front of the camper & get out, carrying Heather who was asleep at the time.

As we enter our camper & turn on the light, it’s pretty evident that the screen door had the entire bottom half of the screening totally busted out. And there’s Dody, sitting there like nothing happened…except that she’s panting a mile a minute!

I guess she missed her family & lemme tell ya  it was so hard to even yell at her (although that didn’t stop Comandante Laurie)!

Some months later, we traveled up to the campground during the fall. We decided to go at the very last minute after work (we were living in Holbrook, way out on Long Island at the time & since it was about a 4-hour drive, we arrived at the site quite late at night.

We opened the camper, immediately turned the heater on & laid Heather down in one of the bunk beds. We just sat at the kitchen table.

A few minutes later, Laurie lets out this blood-curdling scream!!!

I turn around to see what it was. She can’t speak, but points behind where I was sitting.

Sitting in the bottom of the empty coffee pot (on the coffee maker) was a dead mouse.

😱 😱 😱 😱 😱

We packed our stuff up, scooped up Heather & went to a nearby motel to sleep.

We headed home the next day & sold the camper – – as is – – the following weekend! So much for our wilderness experience…

Thank you so very much for listening!

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