Then and Now


campfireMy wife and I went camping over the weekend. Camping in Indiana in the fall can be beautiful, but the weather can be iffy. As we were driving to the campground on Friday afternoon, the skies grew increasingly dark. By the time we got to the camp entrance it was raining pretty hard. She began laughing and reminded me of our first campout together over thirty years ago…

We were newly married and I wanted to impress my wife with my camping prowess. After all, I was an Eagle Scout and had spent many a night camping in all types of weather. We selected a campground and prepared all week for our outing. She was concerned that we didn’t have all the equipment that we would need, specifically a camp stove. I assured her that would not be a problem, as I could cook all of our meals over an open fire. She suggested that we get an inexpensive charcoal grill for the weekend (clearly I was taking her out of her comfort zone with my suggestion – and I was loving it). I told her we didn’t need to pay for a grill, that I would be fine with just a fire. As we were leaving the house, she asked if I’d brought a lighter or some lighter fluid. I laughed and assured her that I could start a fire with no more than two matches.

We pulled into the campground somewhere in central Ohio and it began to pour down rain. We got the tent up okay, but it soon became to start the fire. It was a struggle to find any type of dry wood, but I did the best I could. It took me a few hours (and more than two matches I’m embarrassed to say) to get the fire going, but it finally took. It was dark by the time I started dinner and probably after ten o’clock by the time we ate. But I felt absolutely justified as a man having just proved to my new bride that I could do it.

Fast forward to last weekend. She asked me if I was going to build a light a fire in the rain with only two matches again. I confessed that I had brought charcoal lighter=fluid and a butane lighter this time. It was rainy, and I was hungry! I guess if I haven’t proven my masculinity in thirty-two years of marriage it wasn’t going to happen last weekend!

We both had a good long laugh at this… as we were eating dinner in the daylight!

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