EMMET MEARA

A-camping we will go

Posted July 08, 2011, at 7:53 p.m.

The benefits of camping are boundless and do not end when you throw the soaking, sandy tent and the greasy, unwashed pots and pans in the back of the truck when it rains.

The Cobb Manor Shakedown Camping Trip occurred last weekend at lovely Long Lake with the spectacular grandchildren in attendance, begging for just 100 more pushes on the swing.

Sigh.

Of course there are camping benefits including kayaking and swimming, awakening (on the ground) on a lake shore to birds singing in the trees, eating outdoors and reading still another murder novel on a shaded chaise lounge, endlessly.

The appeal of a campfire is endlessly hypnotic. Imagine what it must have meant a few generations ago. A great improvement on television. No Nancy Grace.

But I submit that there are just as many benefits from going home, after even a few days in the woods (well, fancy campground).

First of all, dumpy Cobb Manor looked like a mansion by the time I got home. It had doors and windows and everything.

Being a card-carrying slob, I left the sandy tent and greasy pots and pans in the truck. I was so tired from the ride home that it could all wait until morning. After a blistering hot shower (no charge) I slid into the glorious queen-size bed, complete with brand new Liz Claiborne high-thread-count sheets.

I am a rich man.

In the morning, there were fewer bird songs, but there was a coffee percolator and a toaster. You never appreciate the mundane toaster until you spend a day or two in the woods, well, campground.

There, in the middle of the kitchen, was an actual stove with at least three burners working. There was an assortment of (nongreasy) pots and pans hanging on the wall.

After a quick, perfect breakfast complete with home fries (I said perfect) I put the dishes into the automatic dishwasher. These are the things we take for granted.

I am a rich man.

The day was just beginning. I turned on the high-definition digital television and ESPN appeared, informing me of all the momentous events from the previous few days. The Red Sox lost. I brought a Nano complete with radio for the camping trip, but baseball didn’t seem all that important in the woods, well, campground. It could have been the grandchildren.

The campground actually had WiFi in the lodge, but I considered that a violation of camping etiquette.

At Cobb Manor, the Sony Vaio had 147 collected emails, mostly junk from Amazon and J.C. Penney. But there were a few messages from actual people. With the email formalities dismissed, I proceeded to my latest addiction, Facebook.

There was a whole new slate of messages to explore. “Brain” Willson had a few hundred pictures of his birds on Beech Hill, naturally. Already, there were fresh pictures of the grandchildren at summer camp. I love Facebook.

I peered across the lawn, already eight inches tall and badly in need of a trim. There, delivered as if by magic was the morning Bangor Daily News filled with news, comics and a fresh crossword puzzle.

After camping in the woods, well, campground, this dumpy house has become a palace …at least for a few days.

I am a rich man.

Camping — the gift that keeps on giving.

 

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