Aw, the campfire. So many senses are touched by the campfire. The glow of the embers with ever-changing blues and reds. The smell that continues to release the camping odors we love, but do not want to take home. The pops and sizzles of the perfectly weathered wood. Camping would not be the same without it.
Early in my family life we did lots of camping. It was cheap my daughter was only single digits ages when the outdoors are fun and it was before the time of iPhones and wifi. We could actually get lost and enjoy finding our way out.
Like most young families the trips consisted of state and national parks. Established campsite with nice tent pads, electric and water, with nearby flush toilets. Our trips were taking place right before, what we refer to as the explosion of the camping movement. A time when and we did show up to places like Arches National Park and get a campsite without a reservation. A time when camping was casual and cheap.
Early on Tuesday morning we headed out to do some camping in the eastern part of the great state of ——-. A gorgeous woodsy area awaited us. We had most of what we needed packed, everything except firewood. After driving for a few hours we soon to arrive at the destination. Once setup we had little desire to leave again so I stop at a “filling station” deep in the east to ask about getting some firewood.
The others stayed in the car while I quickly made my way into the store and towards the beverage cooler. A short line had formed and I patiently waited my turn for the register. I made my purchase and asked the perpriator about a place to buy firewood.
“Sure” he said, “Mr. Shaw sells it back up the road a couple of miles.”
As quickly as the cashier finished his sentence a voice from behind be stated, “No, he is down at the shop.”
I turned to see an extremely large gentleman holding a thirty pack of beer. While his appearance and choice of breakfast drink to some would be shocking, overall he seemed to be a nice guy.
“I am heading down there right now” he said, now directing the conversation towards me directly. “You can just follow me.”
With all the confidence in the world I responded with an enthusiastic, “Great”.
I returned to the truck where my wife had been watching and wondering what in the world was happening in this redneck quick-mart. I told her quickly about the plan as the “big guy” walked out the door with his thirty pack. We exchanged head nods and I placed the Toyota in reverse, secured by position behind the old Chevy and started toward the shop.
Only in hindsight does things make sense. Only when you step away from the moment can you see clearly what is really going on. Like that poem about the fork in the road. Come on why are you telling us this. We wont know the right choice until we make a choice and still we can’t be 100 percent that is was correct or incorrect.
Were we making the right choice? Following the truck down a two lane blacktop road towards the “shop”.