Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Camp Dingo

So a few weeks ago, anticipating our week in the mountains, Andy decided that he would take William on his first camping trip. He bought a tent. He bought sleeping bags. He bought mats to go under the sleeping bags. They set up the tent in William's room and he practiced sleeping in it. They were so excited. Me, not so excited. I saw that movie with Meryl Streep and can still hear her yelling "A dingo aite me baby!" I didn't want that to be me.

I started worrying about bears. I read that they were eating a lot this time of year getting ready to hibernate and I didn't want Smoky making a meal out of my boys. Besides, I didn't like the idea of me, Stuart and Catherine being left alone overnight in a cabin a mile up a deserted mountain. I saw Deliverance. Maybe I've seen too many movies. Maybe I'm just a mother. But I worry.

So I was a little relieved when I heard that there was a burn ban, therefore there was no way to make a campfire and, hence, no way to cook food or keep warm. So I guess it made Andy a little more open to my idea that they just camp out at the cabin, under the deck. And he agreed. Last night was the night.

About 9:00 last night, after pitching their tent and getting everything set up, the boys grabbed the walkie-talkies and their pillows and set out down the hill. Except Catherine was still awake. And wanted to go with them. I tried to talk her out of it. "Don't you want to stay here with Mama where it's warm?" No. She wanted to go with the boys. And they let her. And off they went.

William started calling me on the walkie-talkie as soon as they got the tent zipped up. "Mama, you there? What are you doing?"

"Reading a magazine, William."

"Mama, we can see the stars."

"Great, William."

"And the moon."


"I got a stick and threw it across the yard."


"Mama, what are you doing now?"

"Still trying to read my magazine."

"I just pulled the cover over my head."

"Ok, then."

"Mama, you still there?"

"That's a 10-4."

"What are you doing now, Mama?"

And on and on it went. Until finally, "Good night John Boy."

I went to bed still a little worried but a little relieved that they were within earshot and just outside my window, which was cracked, just in case someone needed me. I slept for just a couple of hours until I heard a blood curdling, ear piercing scream about 2 am:


I bounded out of bed, my heart pounding, and raced to the window. I didn't hear any more screams, and couldn't see anything, and for a moment I thought I had imagined it. Did my baby really yell for me? Were they ok? Should I try to go see about them? I walked out on the deck and listened. Nothing. Until I started hearing howls and barks off in the distance. Oh sweet lord....A dingo really DID get my baby!!!!!!!!

I went back to sleep, after what seemed like hours lying there praying for daylight and this camping trip to be over. A few hours later I heard them all stirring from below, so a cup of coffee and some fresh baked blueberry muffins lured the campers up the hill. And Andy confirmed that I really DID hear my name. William had a nightmare, sat straight up and yelled for me, then fell back sound asleep.

And he also confirmed that he heard the dogs as well. And he heard them get closer. And he was just about to gather up the troops and head in when the dingoes must have disbanded.

So see I'm not a crazy old bird. And I wasn't imagining things. And I'm glad they can say they've been there and done that. But tonight this bird's keeping the little chickens close under wing where they belong.

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