Downhill Camping

I’ve been friends with my high school bestie for over 30 years. She recently came into the area for a two-day Conference held OUTSIDE the city.  Melanie left Boston and met me at my parent’s house.

I gave her a short re-tour of the place where we had our original sleepovers. We talked around the table with my Mom and Dad and it was endearing to share new stories in their old house.  We saw my brother and sister on our way out which enhanced the spirit of our “good ole days”.

We left for some 1×1 girl talk and a male waiter. I wanted to show Melanie that the country also had some fine dining establishments where we could just relax and spoil ourselves a little bit. We had our fancy food and stripped-down conversation. We enjoyed a multitude of flavors and talked about everything under the sun. The creme brulee was the icing on our reunion custard.

That custard crystallized the fact that it was all downhill from there.

A Northern redneck in our high school town decided to change his radio station as he passed in front of the restaurant and almost ran us down.  Melanie left the fast-paced city to be nearly hit in our remote suburbia. We made  it to our cars parked almost 40 feet away and headed to my post-and-beam house in the woods.

Camping here we come.

We carried all her bags into a dark house and met a dog that needed to go back out.  I walked Mel to my daughter’s room and while I shut off the outside lights, she took off her make-up in the upstairs bathroom. As I rejoined her, I realized she would have also found a wall that needed painting near the toilet and an upturned piece of flooring that needed replacing near the bathtub.

Let’s just say our cabin needs some work.

We sat on the bed and started more girl talk as we grabbed our work bags for some quick updates before bed.  Otis was whining in the hallway so she insisted on giving him some more attention. I warned her if she was too nice he’d shed all over her.  She did not heed my warning and soon had a million fawn hair follicles all over her black yoga pants.

I found some medical tape in the first-aid kit and took care of her legs as best I could with what was available in our surroundings.

Melanie was her usual gracious self and just asked for a glass of water before bed.  I went downstairs with the dog, put him in his bed, shut off the lights and my tired self forgot Melanie’s water.

I’m not sure if she thought to drink from the sink spout like a garden hose?

We’d talked about our morning routines so I heard her get up  as I got out of the shower. I had left her towels and a toothbrush, I just hadn’t considered heat. I love the cool crispness of Spring in these woods. It wakes me up to take the dog out in the morning.

My city guest may not have had the same perspective when she came downstairs looking at my unlit wood stove.

She had showered and I was folding laundry in the bathroom. She might have wanted to see if I still used a washboard too?  She didn’t complain and only peeked her head in to request a hair dryer. She’d already scouted Trisha’s room and the upstairs linen closet. My heart sank as I realized Trisha probably had that electric device at campus.

I apologized and  could only suggest she just let her hair air dry?

My long straight hair is usually dry by the time I commute to the city. Her thick brown wavy locks were going to have to rough it.  I felt horrible and wanted to make it up to her.

That’s when I realized the Keurig was at my other daughter’s campus.

I took out my husband’s coffee press. The good news was he had left us some ground coffee, so we didn’t have to pound it out on some rocks.

I reached for the eggs knowing Mel would enjoy some scrambled eggs with her java. No toast for my gluten-free city girl. I added some sausage patties and yelled out into the oak tree beams that breakfast was ready.

Thank goodness for our black cast iron pans. They may have saved the camping trip.

Melanie came down with her own bags on her back and her still wet hair in a tight ponytail. My good-humored friend made her own coffee and sat down with one of her oldest girl pals and enjoyed (?) a nice breakfast before going back to the Conference and city life. I was thrilled with our remaining time together but relieved for her that my country hostess duties were almost over. She probably needed a break from me and my life at this point.  I grabbed one of the bags and walked her to our shaded driveway.

We got to her car only to find the drivers side mirror buried under the biggest bird poop I’d ever seen. It was like the crows in our yard had their own reunion too!

It might be another 30 years before she visits again but she won’t be able to erase the moments we shared.  We are now parents ourselves and have our own houses.

I’m sure Melanie’s just glad hers is in Boston.

I hear they have electricity there.


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