I have received several requests to share the full story of the yellow torpedo camping trip. So here is the rest of the story…
As the sun set on our first night of camping and we were surrounded by darkness, we welcomed a chance to throw on our sweatshirts, roast s’mores by the fire and lay on our backs gazing at the stars. It was peaceful. It was rustic. It was serene. Then, the dog started barking.
Not just the ruff-ruff barking as in I see a bird, a plane or a mailman. A barking as in I-am-a-deranged-and-deeply disturbed-animal kind of bark. Her growls and howls were followed by erratic running, kicking up of sand as she weaved and swerved in circles around the four tents. Her crazed, wide-eyed, tongue-wagging terror run ended when she dove headfirst, mouth open wide, fully prepared to chew through the tent meshing to the inside. Who knows what goes through a dog’s mind? But if it was safety she thought awaited her, after her frightened antics she was right. It was much easier to ponder and accept the awaiting mosquitoes and the gaping hole as we peered through the gashes and saw our beloved dog huddled in the corner, whimpering with her nose tucked under her legs and her big, soulful, sad eyes staring up at us. A little deductive reasoning and we realized the tranquility of the night and the fire that soothed us at the end of a long beach day had terrified her.
Makeshift repairs were made and eventually we were all ready to call it a night. Most did not sleep well. Too hot, too cold, too many mosquitoes, too dark, too scary, too much sand in the beds – the list felt endless. Sometime in the night on one of the many bathroom excursions, Grace’s foot was injured. It really was a simple matter of the shovel landing on her misplaced foot on the dark sand, especially since the flashlight holder was dancing and flickering the light as if looking for Tinkerbell. The next morning, as the large circular, raised-red spot grew we did contemplate if it was really the shovel. Maybe it was a spider bite.
Our next full day in the sun was fun, but in a much slower kind of way. Adults and kids alike were tired and cranky. The sun didn’t shimmer anymore on our surroundings as much as it just made us hot. Only the young in body had the energy to wrestle mounting the yellow torpedo for an exhilarating ride of speed. Sitting under the canopy no longer felt like we were sitting on a fine southern porch, sipping tea, appreciating the gentle breeze and the beauty of what stretched before us. There was no breeze, no tea, sand everywhere and in between our view of the water that stretched to the land-where-showers-awaited were bickering children and a schizoid dog.
As night fell upon us, we were all mentally preparing ourselves for one more night until we left in the morning. Our dog was placed in the tent to alleviate her fears. She spent her time busily chewing another hole in our tent, this time from the inside out. The look on David’s face after several minutes of rubbing her fur was priceless. It was a quiet dawning as he remembered where he had left her and grasped what she must have done to conquer her fears and now bravely lay by her master.
Two final things sealed our unanimous decision to pack up camp in the dark. The first, the inability to feed ourselves. Hot dogs were on the menu for dinner. The fire was lit, but no one could stand next to the flames. I remember standing backwards and forwards, laying on my stomach, skewer outstretched with fork-pronged hot dog awaiting its roasting. We even tied sticks together to make them long enough to keep the scorching, licking arms of the flames from our overly sunburned bodies.
The final reason, the real deal breaker, was Grace’s foot. The red spot now was green and had a pretty red streak moving up from under her foot, wrapping around her ankle and heading straight up for her knee. We knew medical care was in our future.
So really, once camp was packed up, we were committed, working boat lights or not. It was a scary and fretful trip over the water in the dark. I think even scarier was being left on the island to be part of the round two trip back to the mainland. Even though I look back on this trip with the memories of near drownings, IV-producing- ER-antibiotics for blood poisoning, sun-scorched bodies with sun poisoning symptoms and destruction of property, it was by far, still one of the best trips EVER!