Some families had lake houses -others went to the beach.
Camping was more our thing
Momma and Daddy would decide on a Thursday evening and Friday after school we’d be on our way. Momma kept a master “camping list”. With each additional trip we’d forget one less thing than the trip before. Although that may not be completely true because Momma brought everything but the kitchen sink. Fans, bug spray (AVON Skin-so-Soft), TV, Clue board game, TV tables, lawn chairs, a VCR, electric griddle, cards, her birds (in their cage and no, I’m not kidding) and a radio or two.. OH! and perm rollers just in case anybody wanted to get their hair permed while they were camping…because you know, that’s what you do when you’re camping… perm your girls hair. Or at least she did.
Aunt Susan and her girls went with us more times than not. Sometime my uncle would go or I say he went?? He could be found in a boat more often than he could be found around the campfire. Fishing tournaments were more his thing.
One particular trip was more sporadic than most. I’m pretty sure we decided on a Friday after school that we’d go for the weekend and leave within the hour so we could get there before dark. Aunt Susan and her girls wanted to make this one too so we all pitched in..hurrying, scurrying, hunting and gathering the goods from the master camping list. Daddy had the tent and firewood loaded so he headed on over to get us a “good shady spot”. Momma checked and double-checked the master camping list. Finally loaded and ready we pulled out only to stop about five minutes from the house to “filler’ up”. One of my cousins, who we’ll call “Sally” was just learning to pump gas bailed out of the van just as we came to a stop and began to plead. ..“Please. Oh please Aunt Jan..Can I pleeeease pump the gas?” In a hurry and on her way in to pay Momma said, “Sure.”
“Sally” was so super excited
to smell the gas -pumped the gas and was loading up just as Momma returned. All giddy girls on board (5 to be exact) because Aunt Susan’s car was full of the things on her master camping list leaving no room for her littles.
All smiles and a “LET’S GO!” with the minivan in drive Momma pulled away from the pump only to come to an ABRUPT
when she saw in her rearview THE WHOLE GAS PUMP BOX AND HOSE AND HANDLE that was STILL IN OUR VAN trailing along behind us and a liquid spewing like that of a geyser in Yellowstone National Park -as high as the sky!!!
The cashier immediately called 911 and proceeded to
EVACUATE THE PARKING LOT!
I remember hollering and screaming and crying and squealing and not just in our car but all around and sirens and fire trucks and cops and hazardous liquid people and all kinds of uniforms.
Turned out …the liquid?? was water.
from a broken water line and wasn’t hazardous or explosive after all.
I guess it goes without saying we didn’t make it to camp before dark.
But that’s okay because Daddy had a roaring fire by the time we got there.