The last stand of a long departed tent


Mom and daughter setting up the tent, shortly before the deluge.


It looks like anyone who has tickets to Disney World is going to have a bad day.  The first tropical storm of the season, Andrea, is presently pressure washing the rides.    It brought back memories of deluges past, like living through Hurricane Donna when it went through south 1960 with maximum sustained winds of 115 mph.  What I remember most about it was watching the roof move up and down to the force of the winds. I remember having to put towels at the door because the rain was being forced through microscopic cracks.  I remember the sounds of stuff hitting the hurricane shutters as if the wind had formed a pitchers arm.

The events that happened after the above picture was taken seemed mild in comparison.  We were camping with my parents at the incredibly beauteous Devil’s Lake in Wisconsin, where a lake was carved out when a glacier moved through the area during the ice age. What could go wrong? I’ve learned to refrain from asking that question because the universe has a wicked sense of humor. 

Our family of 4 lay peacefully sleeping when the torrent began.  Just before we were deafened by lightening.  My daughter was around 2 1/2 at the time, my son was 4 1/2.  My daughter screamed like an air raid siren, I assured her we would be all right.  That was shortly before our sleeping bags began to float.

My parents had a 25 foot motor home at the time.  I must have looked like a wet cat, pounding on their door as I cursed the rain.  The 4 of us piled in, drying off as mom converted the kitchen seats into a full-sized bed.  Between my parents buzz-saw snoring, the force of the rain against the motor home, 2 frightened children, and more lightening than I ever want to hear again in a lifetime, it was a sleepless night.

What was left of the tent was summarily disposed into a park dumpster shortly before we sucked it up and rented a small cottage for the 4 of us.  When my daughter became a teenager, I discussed going on a camping trip.  Her answer?   “My idea of camping is the Hilton without room service.”