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Life-wise

by Ray Wiseman

A letter from the campsite

Those of us fortunate enough to reach our late 70s sometimes have to justify our actions to the younger generation, as this tongue-in-cheek letter suggests. 

Dear Family:

I know, you all thought we had slipped a cog or two by deciding to buy a Lees-ure Lite camper trailer and go for a cross-Canada trip. A couple of you shook your heads and suggested people in their 70s have passed prime, must stop doing foolish and dangerous things, give up driver’s licenses and check into a care centre of some sort.

That would stop us from doing even over-night camping trips, let alone lengthy excursions.

Well, in fact, we have survived a downpour and nearly froze one night. But calling on the wisdom gained over the decades, we bought a tent heater the next morning. 

Just remember that your crazy mom and dad dedicated a lifetime to doing the unexpected. In our 20s we sold our business and went to college, travelling to Saskatchewan in a 35-foot trailer with two preschoolers. Talk about being nuts. In our 30s, I took a practically-no-pay job with no thought for future financial security. In our 40s we packed up four boys and moved to South Africa to do mission work. With you guys in your teens, we returned to Canada where I worked for a corporation and changed my profession for the third time; actually, make that the fourth time. In my 50s, I travelled North America for the company, and then added world travel that took us through our 60s and into retirement.

So what’s out of character for this couple in their late 70s deciding to explore Canada in a little car and a mini-camper trailer?

Well, okay, we did have problems on our first test runs. The manufacturer claims that anyone can open the trailer in seven seconds. No kidding, seven seconds from the time you snap open the latch until you can step in out of the rain. I timed it. It took me 12 seconds. But then the rain hadn’t started, or I might have done it in seven seconds.

Closing it takes a little longer - you have to pack it carefully and tuck in all the tent material as it folds up. Seven seconds? No, it took seven hours. Sorry, make that two hours. However, after a discussion with the dealer, a rereading of the instruction sheet, and practice, I now have it down to seven minutes.

On our first night, buckets of water fell on the campsite, part of the same storm that hit Midland. We stayed dry, but the awning collapsed. Our fault. Now we know how to set it up properly. True, despite rain and cold, we haven’t faced the real dangers of camping: bears, moose, coyotes, tornados and serial killers, but we’ll handle those things should they come along.

Just remember, all of you follow in our footsteps. David in his 50s has bought a huge BMW motorcycle; Ken in his 40s flies a jet plane over ice infested waters to Greenland; and Linda breaks horses, which, in turn, break at least one of her bones every year.

So we promise not to worry about you, if you promise not to worry about us.

Love from your crazy parents,

Ray and Anna

 

Vol 43 Issue 29

 
 

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