Adele was the one who gave us the idea to go camping in the woods. I didn’t think it was a good idea in the first place, because none of us had experience when it comes to camping, not me, not Greg, Dirk, nor Lola, and not even Adele herself.
Although we used to be six friends back when we were in the high school, Daley, who had had an accident with his dad used to be the funniest of us all. It was a terrible time for all of us. After the incident we do visit Daley’s mum now and then like we used to before. And we still do during our summer meetings even after we had gone to college.
Daley’s mum makes the best pancake in the whole town, and that didn’t change even after she lost her son and husband. Just like his mum knew pancakes, Daley had so much knowledge when it comes to games and having fun. If he were here, he would have suggested something more fun than going camping. He could have suggested camping too, but it was certain that he would have much idea about it.
But he isn’t here anymore, and since the other guys said camping sounded cool and it was a change to the almost routine things we do whenever we meet, I also decided to go along with it.
We had chosen where we are going to camp. It was in the woods where we used to be scared of going when we were young. None of us had the courage to go there back then, but now, we were not afraid of anything.
One bright sunny day in September, we gathered at Greg’s house. He drives an SUV which could do well in the woods, so we’re sure that it could take us as far as a car can go into the woods, and we would also be able to carry along our tents and other stuff.
I met Lola and Adele when I got to Greg’s, and Dirk joined us shortly with his baby-looking face, smiling fondly at all of us.
“Hey, Bob… I haven’t seen you since Jesus wept.” He always says that to me whenever we meet like this, and I’ve always had one reply for him.
“I would have thought it was the day Peter denied him to you.” Then we smiled and embraced for a while.
“You are looking good man,” I said, patting his shoulder.
“Well, Adele threatened me the last time.”
“I only said you should flesh up your skinny ass or I will stuff you up the next we see,” Adele said from the kitchen where she was getting the hit-the-road sandwich ready.
“You can bet I’m still going to stuff you up,” she continued amidst laughter.
When we were all set, and the sandwiches are done, we gathered our bags into the car trunk and drove off. We had the whole of the weekend ahead of us, to be all by ourselves, to be as close to nature as we could get. We had gotten all our gears for the camping ready. Dirk even brought along a bow and arrow apparently to hunt small rodents.
But when I asked him what he wanted to do with the bow and arrow, he said there would be wild animals in the woods, and he was going to kill anyone that comes near our camp with the weapon.
“There is no wild animal in the woods,” Greg who was behind the wall answered him. “Probably you will find some cat or coyote to kill with that.”
When we got to the woods, we had to park the car on the side of the road and walk the rest of the way to the spot Greg had chosen using the park map. There we were going to put up our tent and start the camping life.
What Greg didn’t know, or refused to tell us was that it was a long walk from where we parked the car to where we intended to camp. We tried to make it a fun walk all the way to the campground but the strain of the bag we were carrying started to tell on our bodies.
Each of us brought along our tents and a special big tent where we can all gather to play games, eat, talk and do other fun things. I carried the big tent.
When I got tired, I passed it to Greg, and from Greg to Dirk. That’s how we passed it around till we finally got to the spot. It was close to the evening at the time. But it wasn’t the evening that bothered us but the forming clouds.
We put our bags down and set to work. It was at this moment that we realized that none of us knew how to put up a tent. It was cold and wet under the trees, and it seemed like the late September rain was coming.
We all struggled to put the big tent up, so that if the rain came quicker than we could do the individual tents, then we can all scamper into the big tent for the night.
We were able to fit in the poles, and when we tried to raise it, we realized we had fitted it wrongly, so we needed to start again from the beginning.
“So, nobody googled how to do this darn thing!” Dirk said in frustration.
And he has just finished saying that when we felt the first drop of rain, and a torrent followed immediately.
We all drew together and covered ourselves with the big tent standing on our feet.
“I guess the adventure has started already,” Lola said.
“I think nature is trying to welcome us,” Greg opined.
“By trying to give us pneumonia?” I asked
We stayed like that till very late into the night that we began to try putting up the tent again after the rain had stopped.
Eventually, we were able to put the big one up in the middle of the night, and we spend the rest of the night spreading our soaked luggage.