Rowdy Neighbors

Oh my! I woke up this morning remembering other camping trips… this one on the other end of the spectrum! It’s last year at a State Park campground. I call it “car camping”. All the gear is in the car… those luxury items like an air mattress, chairs, dry wood, fluffy pillows. It comes with a price!

We were in this town on business, but wanted to take advantage of the mountain air with the scent of the pines. Campgrounds are always empty and quiet on Thursdays, so we chose a pretty little site, but not too far from the parking… since we knew we’d be doing a lot of coming and going.

That night we had exciting visits from a group of elk near our tent, which sound like very big animals because they are!!! And then the middle of the night visit from the herd of wild horses which meander around that campsite. Ever-bear-phobic… we were wide-eyed until one of the horses finally made a good horse sound to identify itself!

Friday morning we had our favorite camping breakfast of oatmeal and pecans sitting by the campfire, then off to deal with the project, and enjoy some hiking as well. At the end of the day with all in order, a big supper in town, it was back the campsite to build a fire, relax with good hot tea, and crawl into the tent nice and early.

Well – campgrounds begin to fill up on Fridays, and we had neighbors. Boy, did we have neighbors! Picture them… 55 to 60-ish, tents and canopies everywhere, coolers, food, a dog, radio playing… (and not that I have anything against this) HEAVY West Texas accents, suspenders, talking loud, drinking beer and inviting all the other campers to come on over. They constantly bickered with one another, enjoying the fun of having an audience.

They were cooking a serious supper, and then making sure that everyone throughout the campgrounds knew about it… yelling out such pleasantries as “Damn! This is a good baked potato!” or “Hell! It don’t get no better than this!” They only grew more animated and worked on finishing off the case of beer when they got the phone call about the 100 mph winds tearing through west Texas, and began worrying that their house had been torn up.

We thought things were finally calming down around 10:00 (this was after he had decided to CHAIN SAW more fire wood around 9:30) and it sounded like they were going to bed. (We had already told them good night and crawled into our tent.) But no… this was when the two college boys decided to take the old geezer up on his offer of “come on over for a beer”… this was when the conversation really got intellectual. I learned so much around midnight that night. Things like the good and bad of marriage: The good is when you have someone to do things with. The bad is when you fight. You have to get your priorities straight in life. Like when you show up to camp… get the beer on ice first thing. We pretended it was like having a sit-com going on TV – which eventually turned into bad late-night cable. When the college boys finally gave it up around 1:00, they went back to their campsite across the way and began blaring the rock music on their pick-up radio. This is why we love wilderness camping!!!

Saturday… off to work for the day then back “home” with our supper of cherries and beef jerky, ready to relax with the campfire and hot tea. Happily, Mr. & Mrs. Gripe Fest had calmed down some, and were quietly cooking their chicken on a spit, and even had the radio turned low. College boys were gone, so no fear of them coming over.

We had a beautiful evening, helped Ma & Pa when their canopy blew down in the wind, climbed into the tent ready for rain. Thunder and lightning came cracking through at some point and just shook the earth and rumbled through the Rockies giving us an exciting show. That makes for perfect sleeping the rest of the night unless your neighbors get up at 4:00 to start packing up. Poor ol’ Mama started yelling right off the bat, “Where’re my cigarettes????” Oh.. did I mention.. she was a chain smoker. Other interesting facts… the dog was named Lacy, and her nickname was Lacy Gator.

When they were finally loaded and driving off – big waves all around, the other campers came over to offer their condolences! Pretty funny! We told them we didn’t mind too much… it had given us good food for funny conversation for years to come. Rowdy neighbors and all… can’t beat sleeping in a tent!

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