April 9th, 2008 | 17 Comments »

Still kind of living in the land of being a kid, and remembering.

Today it was the camping trip we made across the continent, from the west coast to the east. Moving toward the place that burned down.

Dad had made a bright red tent out of parachute silk and a sewing machine. No matter where we wandered on the campgrounds, we could always find our tent. It was the only red one.

My brother and I tried it out in the yard before we left, but scampered inside before dark. We were afeared a bear would get us. On a military base. Funny we weren’t at all worried about bear when we were camping in actual campgrounds, where there were actual bears. That’s because our parents were there to protect us.

We had a Hillman station wagon. They don’t make them anymore, I believe, but for comparison sake, imagine a Mini Morris. About that size and shape. Stuffed to the gills with camping gear, clothing, two adults and four children. No air conditoning. Hilarity ensued.

We were able to take a lot of time making our way to the east coast. Some of the things we saw were amazing.

The thing I remember most is driving through the prairie states, or the flat part of the northern states. The highway was without bends. It stretched as far as the eye could see, and in the mornings, on the side of the road, were loads of squished rattlesnakes. I think I was more fascinated by those rattlesnakes than I was the numerous tourist attractions such as the real! Indian! teepee! and the pond stocked so you could catch a trout.

We went into a gas station on that stretch of flat highway, and the proprietor was very kind and friendly. Gave me a silver dollar. It was more money than I had to myself ever. I asked him if there were rattlesnakes in the junkyard in back, and he said yes there were. I was afraid to go back there just in case. But I really, really wanted to see one up close.I had been having those pesky snake dreams.

For the longest time, over and over, I would dream that I was swimming in a river, and the water would congeal into snakes of every size, colour and description. My young mind switched to cartoon mode always at this point, and my arms and legs took on magical windmill properties. I propelled myself quickly above the snakes.

And in the red tent at night? I never feared that rattlesnakes, which abounded in that area, would find their way into our sleeping quarters. My parents were there to protect us.