As I told some friends: someone must have hit me on the head to knock me out, slipped me a Mickey, then forced me to promise the Nachmu boys I’d take them tent camping. Either that, or I’m dangerously insane.
What was I thinking?
Of course, dear reader, we’re having a ball, complete with a spectacular campfire (one match, naturally), a wiener roast, gluten-dairy-free s’mores, a tent (broken support, naturally, but it should make it through the night OK), and three beers, praise God.
My neighbor asked Mrs. Nachmu, “Are you going?”
“No,” she said, and he burst out laughing, adding, “That’s why she’s the smart one!” Now, he’s a jovial fellow in general, but he expressed a little more mirth than usual, and all I could muster to say was, “The iPhone makes camping a lot easier.”
He just laughed some more. I think he almost passed out.
When night fell, the stars made their appearance, but only directly overhead; the clouds parted to make a window. I pointed them out to Nachmu the Younger. At the very moment he looked up, a meteor streaked across the view. It was his first shooting star.
We noticed that one of the support poles had broken during the evening, all on its own, leaving the tent a little lopsided. I groaned but figured that we’d survive the night; maybe some dewfall would make its way through the tent walls while we were sleeping. That’s OK, I thought, if I’m a little damp, it’ll encourage me to get up at dawn to go fishing. I didn’t even swear.
After the Nachmu boys passed out from their marshmallow-induced highs, I lay on my back on the picnic table, looking into the populated abyss above us through a perfectly clear, still night sky, listening to some blues music on my iPhone, and pondering it all. Once the fire had died down to leave me sufficiently cool, I crawled into the tent onto my foam mattress and drifted into a peaceful slumber.
“What was that?”
I remember having that thought just before I suddenly awakened: I was in the state of unconsciousness a parent enters when the environment is less secure than solid walls and shingled roof. Bears, snakes, and any creeping human being will be detected as nuclear missiles are detected by advanced warning devices. But this wasn’t a bear, or a snake, or even a creeping human being.
It was lightning.
“Oh, no!” I protested, as I saw a flash to the west, “No, you promised that there wouldn’t be a thunderstorm!” I was talking to my iPhone, which had indicated that, all night, there was a 10% chance of light rain hour-to-hour. I opened the requisite weather app, found the weather map, updated it, and saw, with bleary eyes at 3am, a gigantic storm system swallowing the land from Lake Erie to Lake Ontario. It was just west of us. I swore, using the granddaddy of all the swear-words. I didn’t care.
Moments later, the heavens broke open with a loud crash, accompanied by many thunderbolts and a great deal of rain. The poor tent held its own for over an hour, but finally had to give up the ghost. Fortunately for the Nachmu Boys, the foam mattress soaked up all the incoming rain, but unfortunately for Nachmu, the foam mattress soaked up all the incoming rain. An hour later, I was sleeping in a giant sponge soaked in cold water.
I got up to go fishing. Indeed, I caught a little fish, and he even had mercy on me by wiggling off the hook after I landed him, sparing me the trouble of having to negotiate the hook with limited light and no sleep. The Nachmu Boys heard me fishing, so they joined me. It was a romp.
Finally, we became hungry and ate bacon. Once the entire pound of bacon was consumed, I poached two eggs in the grease (that’s right: poached; my doctor does not permit me to eat deep-fried food. It’s for my cholesterol). Did you know that, if you dip a piece of bread in the hot grease, then hold the bread over a flame for a few seconds, it caramelizes the bread in a most delicious way? It does.