Mama Kat Thursday: The Willow Slough Lesson

Welcome to Mama Kat Blog Prompt Thursday!
The topic today is: " Share a lesson you learned."

It's funny how one little thing that seems perfectly natural in the moment results in terrible consequences! 
A tent exactly like my family had.

In my family, we camped when we traveled. Sometimes we even traveled just to camp. We used a tent like this picture: huge and blue and all canvas. It was deluxe for it's era and perfect for a family of 5. Heavy too, though it could be compacted into a large, neat roll and hefted on top of the station wagon.

One summer, in the early 70's, our family decided to do series of mini-camping vacations to State Parks throughout Indiana.
The park of choice for this incident was Willow Slough (pronounced "slew"), which is in northern Indiana on the border, south of Chicago.
To even mention, "Willow Slough" now drums up laughter and reminiscing about that day of infamy.
It was a nice woodsy campground. Lots of trees and, being July, lots of mosquitoes, too.
Of course, we had our can of "OFF" mosquito repellent with us.
We'd arrived in  late afternoon, set the tent up and were ready to enjoy our weekend camp out.
I remember the lower portion of the camp ground below us was occupied by a troop of young Boy Scouts with little pup tents, all with a neat trench dug around them as per the Scout camping code.

Those pesky mosquitoes would follow us into the tent, so naturally we'd squirt them and ourselves with the OFF spray inside the tent.
Then an evening thunderstorm abruptly showed up and poured down a deluge.
We ducked into our trusty tent and zipped up to wait it out. That tent had sheltered us adequately before and we thought ourselves secure.
Suddenly, rain began penetrating the canvas ceiling, leaking down on us. It was coming through all the spots where our OFF mosquito spray had contacted the canvas and melted the water-proofing in odd circular patches we could clearly see now that the tent was wet.
The tent floor was quickly turning into a pond, so we heaped our air mattresses and sleeping bags at the center back of the tent where it seemed driest, then huddled there like forlorn stranded refugees.
Finally, we abandoned the tent for the dry comfort of the car and and sat in there, playing "Hearts" and drawing pictures on the steamy-windows.
The Boy Scout camp was awash. Their little trenches saved them not.
Eventually, the rain passed, but, by then, it was getting dark.
Packing up to go home wasn't in the forecast. We were going to tough it out.
What was dry and what was not was sorted out and who was sleeping where was decided. I got the back of the station wagon, my sisters and parents got the tent and the unlucky Boy Scouts spent their night at the laundry mat in town trying to dry out their sleeping bags.

The take-home lesson we got out of that was: never spray mosquito repellent inside a tent. It will ruin the water-proofing.
It was a lesson I never forgot and, in later years of camping with my husband, never ever did I spray mosquito spray inside any kind of tent again!


And you have managed to sum up exactly why I. don't camp.
KatBouska said…
Wow, I had no idea OFF could do that to a tent! Noted!!

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