There was a rather old-fashioned lady, always quite delicate and elegant, especially in language. She and her husband were planning a week’s vacation in Florida, so she wrote to a campground and asked for a reservation. She wanted to make sure the campground was fully equipped, but didn’t know how to ask about the toilet facilities. She just could not bring herself to write the word “toilet” in her letter. After much deliberation, she finally came up with the term “bathroom commode”. But after writing that down, she still thought she was being too forward, so she rewrote the entire letter and referred to the “bathroom commode” merely as the “BC”. “Does the campground have its own BC?” is what she actually wrote. Well, the campground owner wasn’t old-fashioned at all and when he got the letter, he just couldn’t figure what the woman was talking about. That “BC” business really stumped him. He showed the letter to several people, but they couldn’t imagine what the lady meant either. So the campground owner finally came to the conclusion that the lady must be asking about the location of the nearest Baptist Church, sat down and wrote the following reply:
I regret the delay in answering your letter, but I now take the pleasure of informing you that a BC is located 9 miles north of the campground and is capable of seating 250 people at one time. It is located in a beautiful pine grove and is open only on Sundays and Wednesdays. I admit it is quite a distance away if you are in the habit of going regularly, but no doubt you will be pleased to know that many people take their lunch along and make a day of it. They usually arrive early and stay late. My daughter met her husband in the BC.
Sometimes it is so crowded there are five to a seat. It may interest you to know that right now there is a supper planned to raise money to buy more seats. They are going to hold it in the basement of the BC. It pains me very much not to be able to go more regularly, but it is surely not due to a lack of desire on my part. As we grow older, it seems to be more of an effort, particularly in cold weather. If you decide to come to our campground, perhaps I could go with you the first time you go and sit with you and introduce you to all the other folks. We will be sure to get a seat up front where you can be seen by everyone. Remember, we are a friendly community.
Sincerely, the Campground Owner.
Our scout master told us all write to our parents in case you saw the flood on TV and worried. We are OK. Only 1 of our tents and 2 sleeping bags got washed away. Luckily, none of us got drowned because we were all up on the mountain looking for Chad when it happened. Oh yes, please call Chad’s mother and tell her he is OK. He can’t write because of the cast. I got to ride in one of the search & rescue jeeps. It was neat. We never would have found him in the dark if it hadn’t been for the lightning.
Scoutmaster Webb got mad at Chad for going on a hike alone without telling anyone. Chad said he did tell him, but it was during the fire so he probably didn’t hear him. Did you know that if you put gas on a fire, the gas can will blow up? The wet wood still didn’t burn, but one of our tents did. Also some of our clothes. John is going to look weird until his hair grows back.
We will be home on Saturday if Scoutmaster Webb gets the car fixed. It wasn’t his fault about the wreck. The brakes worked OK when we left. Scoutmaster Webb said that a car that old you have to expect something to break down; that’s probably why he can’t get insurance on it. We think it’s a neat car. He doesn’t care if we get it dirty, and if it’s hot, sometimes he lets us ride on the tailgate. It gets pretty hot with 10 people in a car. He let us take turns riding in the trailer until the highway patrolman stopped and talked to us.
Scoutmaster Webb is a neat guy. Don’t worry, he is a good driver. In fact, he is teaching Terry how to drive. But he only lets him drive on the mountain roads where there isn’t any traffic. All we ever see up there are logging trucks.
This morning all of the guys were diving off the rocks and swimming out in the lake. Scoutmaster Webb wouldn’t let me because I can’t swim and Chad was afraid he would sink because of his cast, so he let us take the canoe across the lake. It was great. You can still see some of the trees under the water from the flood. Scoutmaster Webb isn’t crabby like some scoutmasters. He didn’t even get mad about the life jackets.
He has to spend a lot of time working on the car so we are trying not to cause him any trouble. Guess what? We have all passed our first aid merit badges. When Dave dove in the lake and cut his arm, we got to see how a tourniquet works. Also Wade and I threw up. Scoutmaster Webb said it probably was just food poisoning from the leftover chicken, he said they got sick that way with the food they ate in prison. I’m so glad he got out and become our scoutmaster. He said he sure figured out how to get things done better while he was doing his time.
I have to go now. We are going into town to mail our letters and buy bullets. Don’t worry about anything. We are fine.
by Bruce Cochran; from the Sept. `96 issue of Backpacker
- Get even with a bear who raided your food bag by kicking his favorite stump apart and eating all the ants.
- Old socks can be made into high fiber beef jerky by smoking them over an open fire.
- When smoking a fish, never inhale.
- A hot rock placed in your sleeping bag will keep your feet warm. A hot enchilada works almost as well, but the cheese sticks between your toes.
- You’ll never be awakened by the call of a loon if you have an unlisted number.
- The best backpacks are named for national parks or mountain ranges. Steer clear of those named for landfills.
- Acupuncture was invented by a camper who found a porcupine in his sleeping bag.
- While the Swiss Army Knife has been popular for years, the Swiss Navy Knife has remained largely unheralded. Its single blade functions as a tiny canoe paddle. Effective January 1, 1997, you will actually have to enlist in the Swiss Army to get a Swiss Army Knife.
- Modern rain suits made of fabrics that “breathe” enable campers to stay dry in a downpour. Rain suits that sneeze, cough, and belch, however, have been proven to add absolutely nothing to the wilderness experience.
- Lint from your navel makes a handy fire starter. Warning: Remove lint from navel before applying the match.
- You’ll never be lost if you remember that moss always grows on the north side of your compass. You can duplicate the warmth of a down-filled bedroll by climbing into a plastic garbage bag with several geese.
- The canoe paddle, a simple device used to propel a boat, should never be confused with a gnu paddle, a similar device used by Tibetan veterinarians.
- When camping, always wear a long-sleeved shirt. It gives you something to wipe your nose on.
- You can compress the diameter of your rolled up sleeping bag by running over it with your car.
- Take this simple test to see if you qualify for solo camping. Shine a flashlight into one ear. If the beam shines out the other ear, do not go into the woods alone.
- A two-man pup tent does not include two men or a pup.
- A potato baked in the coals for one hour makes an excellent side dish. A potato baked in the coals for three hours makes an excellent hockey puck.
- You can start a fire without matches by eating Mexican food, then breathing on a pile of dry sticks.
- In emergency situations, you can survive in the wilderness by shooting small game with a slingshot made from the elastic waistband of your underwear.
- The guitar of the noisy teenager at the next campsite makes excellent kindling.
- A large carp can be used for a pillow.
- Check the washing instructions before purchasing any apparel to be worn camping. Buy only those that read “Beat on a rock in stream.”
- The sight of a bald eagle has thrilled campers for generations. The sight of a bald man, however, does absolutely nothing for the eagle.
- It’s entirely possible to spend your whole vacation on a winding mountain road behind a large motor home.
- Bear bells provide an element of safety for hikers in grizzly country. The tricky part is getting them on the bears.
- A great deal of hostility can be released by using newspaper photos of politicians for toilet paper.
- In an emergency, a drawstring from a parka hood can be used to strangle a snoring tent mate.