Tuesday, December 15, 2009

How to Freeze Your #*%$ Off For a Good Cause

For those reading this, you can fill in the blank. However, as far as weird things I’ve done in my life, how I spent last weekend hits a new level.

Last weekend was Yule Log for the Boy Scouts in the north Georgia area. For those unfamiliar with it, on the weekend of Yule Log in December, Scouts gather for a weekend of friendly competitions at Scoutland in Gainesville. The price of entry is canned food as all the Scouts in attendance spend their days prior to the weekend collecting food to replenish local food banks. Some troops spend the weekend. Some come in for the day. All bring food to help out. Sounds fantastic and it is.

So what was weird about it?

Last weekend was, as most of you may have noticed, a little on the cold side. And my son’s troop chose to spend the weekend camping out. As the day approached, I saw the weather reports showing freezing temperatures with an inch of rain scheduled for Saturday night and I started asking myself what I might have gotten myself into. I’d camped with my son’s troop before and it had been a lot of fun. However, the potential of freezing rain? I must have lost my mind.

Complicating this was that we’d gotten my son a new tent. It was his first and he was excited. Scoutland has a lot of large canvas tents with mattresses already set up at the various campsites and my son and I had arrived early enough to claim one. Mattresses sounded like a good idea, and the tents were big enough for our gear, but my son would have none of it. He wanted to spend the night in his tent. His 6’ x 5’ tent, camped out with his 6’2” father.

With the weather coming, the only thing I knew to do was dress in layers. For most of Friday evening, I felt pretty good. My son and I got the tent set up and then realized scant little of our gear would fit. We took what we needed to back to the car and made due what we had, blankets from the house that we’d hope would keep us warm. The two of sacked out about 10:30 p.m. and I thought we’d be ok.

I woke up later and I realized I was cold. I’d slept most of the night, I figured. It would be dawn in a couple of hours. Then I reached for my cell phone so I could check the time.

1:15 a.m.

Oh! My! Word! (Actually, I uttered something else, but this is a family space.)

I rearranged the blankets on my son to make sure that he covered and then drew back my hand. The blankets were wet. Condensation from my son’s body heat meeting with the night air. I checked to make sure his cap was on. I knew he was in no danger. (I could have always taken him to the car and driven him around to get him warm if it was really that dire, but I knew that would have been overreacting.) After taking care of him, I wrapped my own blankets around me and tried to get some sleep.

3:00 a.m.

3:45 a.m.

4:45 a.m.

I realized I hadn’t endured a night this long since I was a kid on Christmas Eve. My son woke up at 5:15 and had to go to the bathroom. (I took him there, but I wasn’t looking forward to it. The sun still hadn’t risen and it would be another two hours at least.) I asked if he was okay and he said that he was fine, though he didn’t like the cold. As much as we’d prepared, we hadn’t done enough. When he finally got up on Saturday morning, he was beat. So was I.

We went home Saturday afternoon and both had hot showers. (The whole troop bugged out on Saturday, in anticipation of the bad weather.) I slept for several hours, got up for awhile, then went back and slept for more. On Sunday, I felt like I was finally warming up again, though the pain in my back left me feeling like the stunt double for the hunchback of Notre Dame.

I asked my son if he’d enjoyed his time, now that it was over. He made a comment about camping in the cold, saying he didn’t want to go again until it warmed up. Maybe next Yule Log, we’ll go for the day. One time, though, in that weather was enough.

But we’ll be sure to take lots of cans.

Food banks can use your help. Please remember them at this time of year. Click here to get more information about the Atlanta Community Food Bank.


Jennifer Shirk said...

"1:15 a.m.

Oh! My! Word! (Actually, I uttered something else, but this is a family space.)"

That made me crack up, thinking your night was over and it was only one in the morning. :)

I think I shivered reading this. I'm not a camper, so those cold temperatures would have sent me running for the hills. LOL

Glad you're recovered. :)

Walt M said...

Jennifer, we have recovered, though I think it will be awhile before my son feels warm again. Glad it made you laugh.