Jul 12, 2007

Feeding Lions and Tigers and Bears - OH, MY!

by Heather Horrocks

I’ve been vacationing for the past week. Camping in the Uintah mountains during a family reunion. I had a truly wonderful time, reconnecting with children and extended family. Now we’re home, with one son off on a rafting trip, another is at his job, a daughter and son-in-law safely back in Phoenix, and in-laws in their trailer at CamperWorld.

I did have a great time. I did. So I'm reluctant to admit that, after fixing three meals a day for eight people for seven days in a row, I’m kind of glad to be home. Isn’t a vacation supposed to be more relaxing?

Don’t get me wrong. I love cooking. I love my family. I love the outdoors where we go to camp. But I’d like a vacation from cooking and serving. I bet I could find a place like that, too, but it would probably cost a bundle of money and I’d have to leave my family behind. But wouldn’t it be nice, just once . . . Oh, well. Time to pull up my big-girl pants and get on with real life. (And that brings up a whole new subject – Where can I find Wonder Woman big-girl pants?)

Now ... on to the animals. Bears first. I haven’t seen Smokey the Bear on TV for years, but I remember his warnings about preventing forest fires. Someone or something started a big one, and the huge Neola fire pushed on quickly past our campsite before we got there, showering ash all around, and then, when the wind shifted (while we were still there), it started moving back toward us. Luckily, the closest we came was the smoke. Then we got back home to watch newsreel of the fire taking out cars on I-15 as our daughter and son-in-law were traveling that stretch of road to get back home. What a summer. (Is Smokey the Bear in retirement somewhere? Just wondering.)

We were afraid the fire would send wild animals through our camp area, but we only saw deer, and a lot of them. I was afraid of a bear (and not friendly though stern ole Smokey the Bear, either), especially after the fatal attack on that little boy a few weeks ago. Luckily, we encountered no bears. No lions or tigers, either, for that matter.

Well, though at times I felt like a zookeeper who had to keep feeding the voracious lions and tigers and bears who are related to me.

Today I have to agree with Dorothy on her way back to Kansas: There’s no place like home.

And, though I still had to fix meals today, that was all right, too. I’m home. Back with my pets and my flowers and garden that need watering. Back to my routine. I guess I am a creature of habit.

While I was gone, I spent several hours writing, but not nearly enough to keep me sane. I’m glad to be writing this blog and, afterward, immersing myself in my latest romantic comedy. Time writing always makes me a happy camper (as it were : ).

I hope you all get a chance to take a nice vacation this summer, even if you still have to fix meals. And I hope some of you are lucky enough to have someone else waiting on you for a change.

And we’ll pray that all the voracious lions and tigers and bears--oh, my!--in our family can at least find a moment of appreciation for all that feeding we do in our family zoo.


  1. Heather, you made me smile. I think we all have similar experiences...feeling like you need a vacation from your vacation. I drove through the remains of that fire last week myself...I heard it will be October or November before it will be fully contained. What a shame. I, too, have memories of Smokey the Bear. I grew up in the Montana mountains and loved to watch the smoke jumpers when they were in training at the nearby base.

  2. I read your camping experiences with nostalgic pleasure. It's one thing we've more or less given up on, but we've done it with up to seven kids, in places all over the south and west, weathered rain, wind, and mosquitoes. I never did get to be as good a campfire cook as my mother. She fried the fish my father caught, and made the most mouthwatering dutch oven huckleberry pie. With all my conveniences, I'll never be the cook my mother was.

    But the comfort of growing old is that we now can rent a hotel or motel bed or eat out with impunity.


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