Early in our marriage, my husband Tom and I decided to go on a camping trip in northern California. I was pregnant with our first child.
On arrival at the campground, the person registering us asked, “Do you want to be in the adult or family section?” Tom and I looked at each other, as if to say, “Huh? This is a campground!” We finally blurted out, “Family section.”
Once we had gotten our tent up, I was puttering around, and I think Tom was getting ready to make dinner. I had brought along a small “candle lantern.” While checking it out, I unthinkingly touched a forearm to the heated metal, and burned my arm so that there was a 2-inch by 3-inch brown spot on it. It was bad enough to need ice, so we made a quick trip to a local grocery and bought a bag of ice.
After dinner and clean up, we probably stayed out at the picnic table at least until dark, and may have been watching for stars. Then we crawled into our sleeping bags, perhaps around nine or ten o’clock. There had been some thumping noises in the camp, but we couldn’t see who was making them or what caused the noises.
As I attempted to sleep on my back, because of my pregnant tummy, while holding a bag of ice against my burn, we increasingly noticed the loud thumping noises. From the voices and sounds, we surmised that a group of college men were throwing rocks or heavy pieces of wood at some big logs; at least, that was our theory. This went on for two or three hours. We finally heard a car come into the camp (later we learned it was a police car), and the noise abated.
“Now we’ll be able to sleep,” I thought. But a noise we hadn’t noticed before made itself known. It was a radio from another camp, loud enough to keep us awake. By this time it was somewhere between one and three a.m. Finally, I said to Tom, “Look, you don’t have to do this, but if you feel particularly brave, could you go over and ask that person to turn off their radio?” Tom decided he was brave, left the tent, and I heard him walking towards the noise of the radio.
I may have prayed, not knowing what would happen, “Please, Lord, don’t let some angry person attack my husband!” After a few minutes, the sound from the radio ceased. Soon I heard the approach of footsteps, and Tom came back into the tent.
“Well, what happened?” I asked.
“I found the camp where the radio was playing. A man was sprawled, sleeping, in his Volkswagen van, with the door open and the radio playing. His campfire was still going. I tried to speak to him softly, but there was no response. So I gently reached into the van, turned the radio off, and then came back here.”
I really thought that was a brave act, and told Tom as much. We did fall asleep shortly, even though we felt it was … the campground from hell.