Friday, March 21, 2014

Before They Went Home

He glowered on the hood of the car,
likely because there was no beer
and no money to buy beer,
but she hadn't made that connection yet.

She was making pancakes, for supper,
because there was no money
to buy food either,
and there were kids to feed.

Their tents were borrowed and old
and collapsing, and the night it rained,
they woke in the morning in a puddle,
with the wet top of the tent 
lying on their chests.
They had no ground covers or pads
and they slept in a cold chill,
like trout on a fridge shelf,
waiting for morning.

That night, towards midnight,
she felt the sleeping bag 
puff up with malevolent air
pressing down on her
till she woke screaming,
and flinging it off her.

They got up, and sat by the dying fire
for a while, his arm around her, now,
in comfort, likely feeling guilty.

A police car made a slow circle 
through the campgrounds.
Someone must have called

when they heard the screaming.

In the morning, the littlest boy
had wriggled out of his sleeping bag 
and half out of the tent.

It was not the happiest
camping trip.
But they saw lakes and mountains
and glaciers and wolves
and bears,
before they went home.

Corey, over in the Garden, asked us to write about camping, and we could include a story that would creep him out. I always have no end of such delightful stories. This is a true one. Sigh. Tedious, I know. If I ever get time to write the book, the publisher will likely be Ripley's Believe It or Not! Hee hee.


  1. …if it hadn't rained it sounds like it would have been OK. My parents never padded the tent floor and we slept in many a rain storm. My dad insisted the moldy old tent was rain proof. Hmmm, i certainly don't remember it that way.

  2. You and Margaret have it nailed, although, as I told her, by the time my young brother was born, our parents had graduated to a camper van, so he thought a tent was an adventure. Hah!

  3. "like trout on a fridge shelf"

    That's where the horror and chills enter. Vivid!

  4. Gosh, Sherry. Yours beats mine, hands down. At least you are sure of staying dry in the desert. Yikes!

  5. I think I may be the only one who likes camping!!!!! Holy crap, that would be a bit of a nightmare. But as always you seem to bring it around to a silver lining. Love your true writing, it makes me smile and m ore importantly, identify.

  6. Enough to put one of camping for life. You managed to include so many characters in this short vignette.

  7. smiles...i grew up camping...and even spent a year living in the i have plenty of stories...many happy...some sad...some def escaping the sleeping bag in the middle of the night....

  8. like Brian, i too grew up camping. 'roughing it' is the term I recall for surviving with only what was arounnd in the environment. took survival training and loved it. experienced the rain many a night with a pup tent and trash bags as rain cover and flooring. gracias for the memory mi amiga

  9. Oh dear another comment eaten - gone forever. I will try again. A good but sad poem.

  10. What I had said previously was that one could feel the ugliness, frustration and hope here.

  11. Oh my! Not the best of times, however I feel the love seeping through your words, memories.

  12. Sigh...camping in the rain CAN be miserable. And sometimes it isn't only the rain that dampens one's experience.

  13. This story did give me chills. Sometimes the scariest things are right there with us!

  14. This is a powerful piece, Sherry. So much in what's no said. Well done.

  15. Truth makes for the scariest campfire tales...powerful piece


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Thank you so much. I will be over to see you soon!