Filed under: Campgrounds & RV Parks, Entertaining Kids at Camp, Family Camping, Humor, Nature & Wildlife, Preparation & Readiness, Safety on the Road, State & National Parks, Tent Campgrounds, Uncategorized
Sally’s Revenge and the Bear that came to Dinner – Part 2
(Continued from “Sally’s Revenge and the Bear that came to Dinner,” Part 1)
Well, that big pile of hair that Sally pulled out of the bag wasn’t a wig; which was my first guess.
As both families stood around that first morning; deep in the forest in Matthew’s Arm Campground at beautiful Shenandoah National Park, I might have grumbled a bit. We had been waiting for forty-five minutes while Sally finished her morning preparations for taking a short hike on the Appalachian Trail. She primped, painted and brushed. But it was the amount of time and effort that she was taking with that huge mass of hair that she was pinning onto her head that finally got to me.
“Is she ever going to be finished with that wig?” I whined (yes, I whined, but I was at my breaking point, okay?). It’s not a Wig; it’s a Fall!” my wife hissed, “And keep your voice down!” “Well,” I hissed back, “I’m going to go berserk if she decides that she needs a pedicure before we can go hiking!” We were both getting a bit testy by this time; we had just about had it with our friend’s wife.
My wife explained that a fall is something like a wig, as it’s worn on top off one’s own hair, but not covering all of one’s own hair; it just sort of sits on top. All this so that a woman could instantly get that “big hair look” and grow from, let’s say, five-foot four, to six feet tall; instantly. No, that’s wrong. Not instantly; we had now been standing around patiently waiting for nearly an hour, while Sally put on her makeup, including painting her eyelids an iridescent blue, attaching false eyelashes the size of large butterfly wings, drawing big, black eyebrows where none were meant to be; and attaching long, false fingernails. She finally began attaching that huge pile of hair to the top of her head with, it must have been, a hundred hairpins. She then began applying hairspray and teased the whole thing upwards with a rat-tailed comb so that she looked like she had a large beehive-shaped hairdo sitting on her head.
And that, we decided, was Sally’s revenge for being dragged out into the wilderness; she was going to make sure that everyone had just as miserable a time of it as she did.
Well, boy, did we get some interesting stares on the trail that day. Some people even asked to take our photograph; while the others just took one without asking and then walked away shaking their heads at us. We tried to ignore all of the amateur photographers and pointed fingers and giggling, and were fairly successful at doing it. Sally thought it was great; she didn’t seem to mind the attention. She said that it made her feel like a celebrity. She told my wife that she thought that she looked a lot like Annette Funicello, of Mouseketeers fame, and that was probably the reason for the hubbub she was causing. She said that it was a simple case of mistaken identity.
We all learned some lessons on our first hike. I learned to ignore some things about Sally and Sally learned that Capezios (you guys can ask your wives about what Capezios are) were probably not the best footwear for hiking in the forest.
My relationship with Ted; which had been a friendly one for many months, went downhill quickly. I didn’t blame him; I mean, he had to take sides AND he had to sleep with Sally, so it was obvious what side he was going to be on.
By late afternoon, we were back in camp, fed, but footsore and exhausted; if not physically, then emotionally. I thought we were going to have to give CPR to Sally when a deer stepped out of the woods and into our path that afternoon.
That evening, after locking the cooler in Ted’s station wagon and firing up our Coleman white gas catalytic tent heaters; because it was going to be a cold night (in more ways than one), we turned in early; knowing that Ted’s family would be up before daybreak again the next morning.
That night was the absolute breaking point in our trip. Sometime after midnight, Maureen woke me with a poke in my ribs. “Something’s out there!” she whispered, “And it’s coming this way!” “Whuh?” I mumbled, “What’s coming this way?” “I don’t know,” she responded, “But it’s getting…” WHAM! “c-l-o-s-e-r!”
That was the sound of a garbage can and its lid hitting the ground, maybe a hundred yards from our campsite. You need to understand at this point that the garbage cans in this park were the old-fashioned, heavy ones, and they were held in place by a ring of highway guard rail that had been bent into a circle and sunk in concrete. The fact that something could knock such a garbage can — a full garbage can — out of its retainer was quite a feat; it would take a really… BIG… BEAR… to do that!
WHAM! This time it was our garbage can; the one not twenty feet from our tents; the one that I had thrown maybe twenty buttered corncobs and a good portion of our dinner into since my kids refused to eat the “spareribs-à-la-Sally.” Everything in the can went crashing to the ground. OMG!
We sat there shaking; listening to what must have been a very big bear, grunting and munching on the remains of our dinner. We prayed that, once he was done, he’d be satisfied and would wander back into the forest; but, oh no, that’s not what he did. He left the garbage can and walked right over to our tents… crunch… crunch… CRUNCH… and then… silence…
We held our breath, thinking about all of the bear horror stories that we had heard while growing up. My wife nudged me again and whispered, “What are you going to do with THAT?” She’d noticed that I was holding our hatchet close to my side. I whispered back, “If he comes in THAT way,” nodding toward where the bear was, just outside, “We’re going out THAT way!” I said, pointing with the axe at the opposite side of the tent.
I don’t know if it was our whispering that did it, but the bear started moving again. He crunched his way through the fallen leaves around our tent, and stopped in between the tents’ front doors. He grew quiet again, as if he was thinking; considering which dessert to go for probably: the one behind door one; US, or, door two; Ted, his family, and Sally’s huge fall of hair. “Go for the hair!” I prayed, “Go for the hair!”
He did neither. We heard him moving about in a tight circle, and then lying down, where he commenced to grumble and mumble, and it seemed, settle down for the night. Why not? I thought; there was probably more food for breakfast left in our overturned garbage can and there was nice, warm heat oozing out of both tents right where he was curled up!
We were awake for most of the night, praying that the bear would leave and our kids wouldn’t wake up before he did. I don’t know when he left that night; one moment he was out there — maybe grumbling about the low quality of food at this campsite (like Sally’s spareribs) — and then he was gone.
And so were we, early the next morning. I now have to admit that maybe Sally was right about nature; it was meant to stay outside, behind a nice sturdy wall… and that’s why I now have a trailer.
Till Next Time,