of the event heretofore known as THE CAMPING TRIP, (TCT).
It all started when some friends of ours showed us a bucket full of fossilized bones, shark teeth, turtle shell, stingray barbs, and even fossilized poop. (My apologies to any readers of a more sensitive disposition, but apparently anything can be preserved in the fossilification procedure. And the EPA thinks the diapers are a problem.)
Anyway, in showing us this bucket of relics, the question was asked as to where it had all come from and how it had come into their possession. A few years back they had taken this trip down to the Peace River, near Arcadia, FL, with a homeschooling group to study creationism science and dig up fossils. The trip was not only a smashing success but incredibly interesting, and ever since they had embarked on finding other families to go with them. We were this year's alligator bait.
The plan was to camp in tents for three days in a local campground and every morning travel to the Peace River dig site to dodge alligators and find the elusive megladon tooth. Of course, while I'm a nature lover like anyone who has allergies to all pollens and an intense alligator phobia, I was all but GUNG-HO on this Spring Break trip idea, TCT. And seeing as living in a tent for three days and sleeping on the ground is just short of Dante's Inferno to my mind (and body), I had to be held back on packing for the event, TCT.
Enter the beloved Aunt and Uncle who possess kith and kin to me but more importantly, possess keys to a fifth wheel camper. Aaah! Why those things are just a grown up little girl's play house, aren't they? Did I mention that I was virtually packed by the 3rd hour of discussion? Okay, maybe not quite the 3rd hour.
Anyway, whilst small obstacles like not having a fifth wheel hitch in the back of our truck loomed large, reconciling my mind (and body) to the reality of a public bath house, or even the relentless tirade of so called friends who mercilessly tried to enlist my blood signature on a pact of not wearing makeup or shaving my legs for the trip would have deterred some and ended lesser friendships, I was quite determined to follow through on TCT.
The hitch made it by UPS ground two days before having to leave. The public bath house was Scarlett O'Hara'ed (I'll think about it tomorrow!), and no pact was signed as I held firm to a compromise of moisturizer, mascara and shaving but no hair spray on TCT.
The packing plan was completed in the 13th hour (I knew there was a three in there somewhere). The TCT was begun. Eight to ten hours later, Peace River Campground welcomed its 5 newest residents of my own household, and 11 others in the two accompanying families. Although we were not sporting any of the 18 dozen ATVs, mules, go-carts, or golf carts that roared around at 9 1/2 miles per hour. And even though we did not quite have time to plant the shrubs that were growing around some of the other residences, we did manage to hang our Christmas lights, have a campfire 2 nights with S'mores, and enjoy the company of one another both in the river, at the river, and by the river.
The 10 children were the filthiest bunch of darling ragamuffins you ever did see. The adults were a bit motley as well, but dig and fossil find we all did for 2 whole days. Shovel, sift, sort. Repeat. Exclaim, excitement, excellent. Repeat. TCT!
No alligator messed with us a'tall, although a brown water snake tried to frighten a few people--I was perfectly calm, mind you--and there was some sunburn, wind chapping, and bug biting; but, for the most part, it was a blessed time of reveling in all that God has made for His glory, even on TCT.
After therapy, retail and pedicural, I might even be able to tell you about the public bath house. Even Scarlet O'Hara had to face her day.