Sunday’s Column – The Little Black Dress Goes Camping

Sep 16, 2012 by

Here’s Sunday’s column in The Newnan Times-Herald:

I’m sure you just did a double-take on that headline.

No typo. The LBD ventured out into the woods. And she will point out she was a Girl Scout and ask why are we making such a big deal out of this. Now for exactly how long she was in said Scouts is open to debate.

For the record, and my own safety, she did not bring a little black dress. She did not bring high heels or even a hair dryer. She did bring several coordinating outfits in appropriate woodsy colors. And several magazines with the words “home” and/or “decor” in the title were visible. And yes, there was lipstick.

The event: the annual fall kick off for the Mighty Cub Scouts of Pack 47 and the Boy Scouts of Troop 47.

A weekend of complete overeating; bonfire contests based solely on height; sharpening of sticks; violating the no-electronics rules to follow the latest football scores; biggest what the heck is that insect/tick/chigger bite; sneaking out to the car to check the above scores; bragging rights to the latest and greatest camping gear acquirements; chest beating, howling and war drums.

But enough about the dads.

I will give kudos to The Dress for being a sport. She is a fair-weather camper. It’s a love/hate relationship, but since we don’t use the word “hate” in our household, let’s just say she’s not fond of certain camping aspects. She has a new appreciation for toilets, even while cleaning them at home.

To help ease her into camping, I have spent a small fortune at the Ultimate Backpacking Nirvana Store outfitting her. Bringing her to the Perfect Man Cave is compatible to her taking me to the Magnificent Shoe Castle. In other words, we put up with each other’s differences.

The first time I took her, I pointed out to her the various departments: backpacks, tents, sleeping bags, sleeping pads, cooking systems and so on and told her to have fun. After about 45 minutes she showed up with something very small. Apparently, the ultimate backpacking underwear. And yes, they were black.

Here we are among untold numbers of backpacking stuff of every category and type and she finds â ¦ underwear – quick drying, breathable, lightweight, fast washing. Here’s their slogan: “17 countries, six weeks and one pair of underwear. Okay maybe two.”

I am a lucky man. Obviously she knows what’s really important in camping.

When it comes to the outdoors The Dress is about comfort and style. For example, I bought her the ultimate headlamp. The lightest, most powerful, with a spot light, flood lights, red lights, dimmers. Everything.

“It’s ugly and I don’t like the color,” she said.

In fact the only colors she would accept were pink or chartreuse. That severely limited the selection, but I found something in chartreuse with half the features and The Dress was happy. I just let it go. I don’t think they make “cute” headlamps anyway.

She also does not understand the concept of mesh walls in tents. This became quite evident when we camped late last fall and it was, well, cold. I tried to explain it helped with ventilation and keeping condensation out and she just pointed out what she saw as the idiocracy of having mesh walls in the winter. We just let that one go too.

To be honest, the LBD’s best camping spots involve the words “Hyatt,” “beach,” and “we have your spa treatment scheduled for noon.”

But she can whittle with the best of them. She has her very own Ka-Bar knife, and yes, it is wrapped in pink paracord.

She’s willing to take on the ticks and mosquitoes and chiggers. She’s willing to sleep in something other than a bed. But she will find the pea.

Yet it is on Sundays where The Dress out-camps the best. For the last couple of years, she’s led our Sunday vespers service. This is the Scouts after all.

During the service, at one point she held up a t-shirt with the twelve points of the Scout Law written on them. It begins with A Scout is trustworthy, loyal, helpful and so on. I prefer to call those words The Code.

And she simple looked at the Scouts and reminded them that anyone can wear a shirt. And that anyone can say or promise anything. But it is your actions that determine your character, your code.

She closed in prayer. Because the last of the twelve laws is this: A Scout is reverent.

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