Altar Call – Opelika-Auburn News

Walter Albritton

November 28, 2004


The best campsite is a room in a nice motel


      There seems to be an instinctive desire in the human spirit to go camping. Such a craving should not surprise us since our early ancestors slept on the ground in caves.

          I can imagine a conversation eons ago between Cave Man Walter and Cave Woman Dean. Cave Woman says, “Need firewood; Cave Woman cannot cook rabbit without wood.”

          Cave Man Walter replies, “Cave Man watching ballgame; you go get firewood and don’t burn that rabbit like you did the last one.”

          Cave Woman says sharply, “I am sick and tired of seeing you stretched out on that log watching those roly polys push that ball around!  Get up off your hind end and go get me some wood for this fire!”

          Cave Man growls back, “Woman, do you want me to drag you by your hair out yonder and make you bring in some wood?”

          Cave Woman snarls in response, “I told you the last time you grabbed my hair that if you ever did it again that you had better never go to sleep again because I will take this club and drill this sharp bone between your squinty little eyes!”

          On a roll now, she continues without taking a breath, “And that’s not all, big boy, from now on, you can take the garbage out as well as bring in the firewood. Cooking and taking care of these young-uns is all I plan to do, whether you like it or not!”

          Having said that, she grabbed Cave Man Walter’s favorite club and stepped menacingly toward him. The fire in her eyes convinced Cave Man that he had better move.

          Realizing that he was no match for the Tiger his sweet mate had become, Cave Man Walter rolled over and went after more firewood. He was mumbling as he walked out, “I thought I was supposed to be the spiritual leader of our family.”

          I understand how my dear old ancestor felt. When our boys were growing up, my wife thought I should take the family camping. I felt no such inclination. I had never been a Boy Scout. My father never took me camping, so I knew nothing about the art of sleeping in the woods.  However, like her ancestor, Dean would not take no for an answer.

          So, reluctantly, I bought a tent from Sears for two hundred dollars, along with some camping utensils and sleeping bags. We went to the woods. There I learned firsthand that I would not have enjoyed being a cave man.

          I lost what little religion I had trying to set up the tent. I had no idea what I was doing, though Dean knew exactly how I should have done it. The boys were too young to be of much help. I could tell by the bewildering look on their faces that they could not believe their daddy did not know how to put up a tent. It was one of those shocking moments when they began to realize that daddy was not Superman.  

          We burned most of the food we brought along, and what we did eat had sand in it. The coffee was awful, nothing like it appears to taste when the cowboys drink it on the trail in the movies. We thanked God for crackers and summer sausage; without them we would have starved.

          A few years later, when the boys were in their teens, Mark and his friends pitched our tent for a night out on the Black Warrior River. When an ugly storm developed, Mark and his buddies returned home. When they went back for the tent the next day, it was gone. We never saw the tent again. I tried for years to find out who had stolen the tent. I never did. I wanted so much to thank him.

          Cave Woman and I are too old to camp out now. And that is just as well. For my money, the best campsite is an air-conditioned room in a nice motel. If you enjoy camping, please enjoy yourself. Have fun, but tell Tom to leave the light on for me.

          When we are at home, though, I still have to bring in the firewood. That is the price I pay in order to go to sleep without fear that Cave Woman will do something nasty with her club. + + + +