By JoAnn Mullen


My husband gave me a choice of our summer vacation activity; running a marathon (which is like being caught in a pinball machine — bouncing against one obstacle after another while sweating profusely) or camping. He sat in his camo outfit and summoned me to the table. Make no mistake, I married adventure, but his vacation choices were underwhelming.

“If you still love me you won’t ask me to do this,” I began.

“Maybe if we camped more, you’d get to like it,” my husband said, cajoling me. “It gets you up early, makes you exercise, and encourages discipline.”

“So does the Army but I’m not signing up for that either.”

We set out for Camp Ripley, off-loaded the car. I set about unpacking 13 bags marked “Camping Gear.” He went fishing. I pitched the tent, made up the beds, set out the cooking equipment and made a fire. He came back with three fish and asked me to clean them.

“Why do I have to clean them?” I asked. “Didn’t they just come out of the water?”

There’s one thing to be said for camping. Togetherness. We slept like two spoons. See how romantic you feel when morning breath sets in and you have to walk 50-feet to the toilet.

All pretenses, manners and common courtesies disappear when camping. When did my feet start to smell? Did he always honk his nose?

I decided that this was my last camping trip. After all, bears don’t sleep in my room, I shouldn’t sleep in theirs. Going camping is a perfect reminder of how good life is when you’re not camping.

The closest I’ll ever get to camping again is staying at a hotel with no Wifi.