This week at the Carrot Ranch, Charli Mills has challenged writers to In 99 words (no more, no less) write a story that includes a yellow tent. Where is it and who does it belong to? Think of how the color adds to the story. Go where the prompt leads.
I am not a camper. I had no experience of camping as a child and only two as an adult. The first, I finally succumbed to pressure from friends who assured me I’d love it. How could I not? They did. I didn’t.
The second I only vaguely recall though I am assured it did really happen. I think I’ve obliterated it from my memory. Sadly for my children, they also missed out on the camping experience though they did attend school camps (not in tents) and occasionally go camping now that they make their own choices.
My best experience of camping was at school with my year ones. One of the families was keen on camping and the father was a wonderful volunteer in the classroom. His shift work as a firefighter meant that he was often available to help us out. When we were reading books about camping, we had a ‘camping day’. This wonderful dad came in and set up a tent in the playground, made a little campfire, and cooked us all a camp lunch. We spent the day in the playground getting the full camping experience. It was great fun, especially for the children who didn’t get those experiences with their families, and a good way to build background knowledge and vocabulary. I enjoyed it because I got to go home to my nice comfy bed to sleep in. 😊
Of course, children love to play camping too, building tents over furniture in bedrooms and living rooms and with whatever they can find in the back yard. It is a wonderful activity for imagination. The construction itself can take a bit of working out and involves spatial thinking, collaboration, persistence, resilience and the ability to try new methods. I believe setting up a real tent may require some of those skills as well.
For my response to Charli’s prompt, I couldn’t resist writing about children and their imaginative play, but I also thought I’d try my hand at a romantic piece, which is almost as rare for me as camping, so I have done two. I’d love to know which you prefer.
With Intent I
They dragged the upended chairs into position, stacked boxes in the middle and positioned the quoits hob on top.
“Now a cover,” said one.
“I know,” said the other. They raced inside.
“What are you doing?” asked Mum.
“Nothin’,” said one.
“Just playin’,” said the other.
“Don’t make a mess,” said Mum.
The yellow sheet refused to hide as they returned outdoors. Mum smiled.
After some realignment of chairs and adjustments to boxes and sheet, they stood back to admire their work.
“Lunchtime,” said Mum.
“Can we eat in the tent?”
“Only if I can join you.”
With Intent II
“I have to work.” She feigned disappointment.
“That’s okay. Come after work.”
“But I’m working late. It’ll be dark.”
“It’s well-lit all the way.”
“But I don’t know the way.”
“That’s okay.” He punched the address into her navigation device. “Just follow the directions.”
“How will I find you when I get there?”
“I’ll be watching for you.”
Conjuring no more excuses, she wasn’t yet ready to explain her attraction to him didn’t include camping.
Later, when entering the campgrounds, deserted but for one yellow tent lit by solar fairy lights spelling the words, “Marry me,” her fears melted.
Thank you for reading. I appreciate your feedback. Please share your thoughts.