I don’t want to associate the experience with the word ‘vacation,’ but it was a trip away from home. Many details of that nightmare trip have thankfully faded, but one remains. We had not camped anywhere before and my mother, who had a difficult time functioning in the kitchen at home, assumed there would be no problems.

There are always problems!

I was maybe nine or ten, the oldest of four children, the one delegated to do a major share of our mother’s work. I had had to do most of the packing, though I had no idea what to expect. We had never tried to camp before. We got to the campsite well after dark – in the rain!

Dad and I tried to pitch the tent in the mud, on a slight slope. That didn’t work. Rain coming down the hillside did not stop at the edge of the tent. My mother yelled at me to create a ditch to divert the water – with my hands!

That was clearly impossible.

I don’t remember what we eventually ended up doing, all I remember was standing, soaking wet and being ordered to dig a ditch in the mud with my bare hands. It was impossible.

I don’t think Daddy ever tried to go camping again At least, I don’t remember doing so.

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