Friday, August 11, 2006

View of a Camp

Camping trips were always a treat. Whether it was sunny and cold, cloudy and cold, sunny and hot, or even raining, the family always had a good time. Laughter was never in short supply. Sometimes honest, open, general laughter, sometimes at someone’s expense, but quite often unanimous, at least eventually.

There was one trip in particular, up in East Texas, clear and cool. The travel trailer was parked at the edge of the lake, one of those meandering-shore lakes that has numerous spits of land out into the water. The Dad, the sister and the boy had to take the pickup truck to the ranger station or the park store or some such place early in the morning. As they returned to the camp along the bridge, they could look to the left and see the campsite. From that vantage point, the trailer was visible, and the lad, thirteen or fourteen at the time, absently said, “I can see the truck from here…” meaning of course that the campsite was indeed in sight.

That was a golden opportunity served up on a velvet pillow on a silver platter for the sister, who was ever quick on the draw. Hails of derisive laughter ensued, followed by the pointed observation that they were IN the truck… ha ha ha ha ha! The Dad could not suppress his glee, either. The embarrassed boy tried a quick recovery by saying, “Trailer, TRAILER! I meant to say TRAILER!” To no avail, in fact his protests were met with more shrieks and screams, and ever-escalating joy at the coup worked on the normally smart aleck boy. Possibly the sight of him reeling was like blood in the water to sharks. When the trio arrived back at “the trailer, THE TRAILER!”, the lad’s hope that his sibling would suddenly forget the single misspoken word evaporated. Completely. His mortification was magnified by the cackles of delight bubbling from their mother, the tears streaming down her cheeks. He stewed about the incident the rest of the trip, only to be reminded of it every couple of hours. He got to where he was afraid to mention the words “truck” or “trailer” for months, for fear of a relapse.

Even after thirty years, the phrase “I can see the truck from here…” leads to snickers and chuckles and weak explanations, “I meant to say trailer…”

No comments: