Saturday, December 02, 2023

Uplifting memories too glorious to miss

by CAROL SHIRK KNAPP / Contributing Writer
| August 30, 2023 1:00 AM

Camping impressions — we are still in our two-week site reservation at Priest Lake, secured back in February — and there is both wonderful and worst. We missed the first couple of nights for air quality — way too much smoke from multiple wildfires. People were heading out, not in.

Before that cleared, Terry rebounded with COVID symptoms and a positive test, so we got the RV set up at our camp with the help of our daughter and grands at the neighboring site. He kept his distance, wore one of those infamous masks, and then returned home to isolate.

I have had a lifelong mouse phobia, which my mother got from her mother. When loading the trailer the day we left, I noticed minimal rodent signs and thought it was a fluke. We have been mouse-free in three summers of RV camping. If there had been one, it was long gone.

But the second day — the day it poured rain and a grand and his mom had to dig a moat around their tent — I noticed new mouse signs. This was not good, but if it was just back in a cupboard, I could keep a jumpy endurance.

The third night, I woke to rustling sounds and thought rain must be tapping on the roof. But wait — we'd had a clear sky sitting around our propane-fueled fire pit stove — the kind that was allowed with the fire restrictions. I sat up quickly and turned on the light — in time to see a mouse scurry across the bathroom floor.

It was horrific for someone like me. An 11-year-old grand was sleeping on the sofa bed. I woke him at midnight, and we spent an hour with a broom and flashlight. Nothing. The only way I slept that night was through massive prayer.

Breakfast the following morning was a lot of banging on cupboards and shining a flashlight inside — my grandson was in charge of that — before reaching for dishes. Terry arrived later in the day, after a negative COVID test and feeling better, loaded for bear in a mouse sort of way. Isaac placed the traps, and that night we caught the terrifying creature. There is a reason I think phobia should be spelled "foebia."

On the wonderful side, there were moments like the 6-year-old asking if she could come in while I was cooking and sing me some songs. Our daughter checked out a Hardy Boys book from the library and read it aloud around our "fake" fire. Our grandboy kayaked to a fishing spot Terry told him about — he's just back with his fourth smallmouth bass.

Sunrises on the beach — that first gleam above the mountains — have inspired. There's something about that golden ball calling forth the day that speaks of the eternal. And last evening's silver moon path on the still lake is unequaled. I could have stepped into the night and walked on water — it was that real.

Would I do this campout again? As much trouble as we had getting here, and as petrifying as the mouse stowaway was, I'd have to say yes. Because the good memories — the uplifting moments — have been too glorious to miss. The wonderful was here, waiting. I just had to believe I'd find it.

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