Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Camping and Cursing

Back in the day when it was a punishable offense to call your older brother a doody-head, my family embarked on quite a few camping trips.

I learned quite a bit on those trips, but it wasn't until reading an article today that I realized that everyone didn't learn to curse while watching their dad set up a tent in the rain.

This was surprising to me.

My dad had a bit of a curse (no pun intended) when it came to the weather and camping and it turns out it is actually a family curse. It is the kind of curse that turns a nice June day into a gloomy swear-fest at the first sight of a family tent.  A curse that has put a rain cloud above my car while driving to the camp site when the rest of the sky is clear (really, this happened).  The kind of curse that knows whether I will wait to set up the tent to see if the rain clouds will pass (they won't and the heaviest rain will come while I'm setting up) or if I will set the tent up right away while it is only drizzling (again, it will pour as soon as the tent parts are out of the bag).

The first memory I have of this is sitting in the station wagon with my mom and the doody-head while my dad literally wrestled with a soaking wet canvas tent.  Canvas!  Heavy when dry, super-duper heavy when wet.  And this was a tent that came with 10 pounds of poles that were in a bag that my brother and I could have fit into.

At least my tent is now light weight, water proof and only has two poles that are both the same. My dad had to find the 3 pole segments that go together to make a pole.  And each part of the tent needed different pole lengths which meant different pole pieces that made up each completed pole.  It was a like a pole puzzle and we got to watch him struggle and curse as he built our shelter for the night.

Of course, when he was done pitching the tent, the clouds would disperse and the sun would come out.  In fact the first camping memories I have are of learning a few swear words followed by a great rainbow.  It is the first rainbow I ever remember seeing.  The rest of the day was beautiful and I was introduced to the marvel of burs.  After throwing them at each other for a few minutes under the rainbow and getting a kick about how they stuck to our clothes, my brother fell into the bur bush.  The rest of the afternoon was spent grilling and picking burs out of my brother's hair. 

At the end of the sun-filled week, I got a little refresher course in my new vocabulary words as my dad took the tent down in the rain, while we watched (and listened) from the dry comfort of the car.

Camping with the family was always so much fun for everyone....well, I'm guessing my dad could have done with out the ill timed rain storms.
If you like this story, or just hate Parkinson's Disease, please visit my Team Fox page and help me reach my goal of $5,200.
I hope you continue to join me in laughing at my dad and join the fight against PD!

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Learning to ride

When teaching someone else a new task, there are standard methods and then there are the more, shall we say, strange methods. My dad started off with the standard method of teaching me to ride a bike: Get me started on training wheels then take the wheels off and let me ride a little while he holds the bike. When he felt I was going well, he would let go without me knowing. Standard, age old method. He did this for my brother and it worked great. Yes, my brother did go half way down the block and land in a bush but it was a soft bush and he was uninjured.

Enter the strange method.

After I passed my first ride as a very surprised solo rider, my dad decided to make a small obstacle course. Large objects where dragged from the garage to the street where I was going to weave in and out of them refining my control. Guaranteeing that I, unlike my brother, would never crash into a bush. I trusted my dad so I mounted my bike and headed toward the first object, a large metal garbage can. Getting around the first object was easy. Turning tightly enough to make it between the garbage can and the second item, a metal step ladder, was a little bit beyond my current riding skill. I don’t remember what the other objects were because I never made it that far having crashed into the ladder. Scraped up and slightly injured, I headed inside with my dad.

I don’t remember completing my training, but know for a fact that dad never set up another obstacle course. I also haven’t crashed in to anything on a bike since, so maybe this was a lesson I couldn’t have done without.

If you like this story, or just hate Parkinson's Disease, please visit my Team Fox page and help me reach my goal of $5,200.
I hope you continue to join me in laughing at my dad and join the fight against PD!