A campfire outside provided us with perfect hamburgers and baked sweet potatoes. Numerous stars shone before the full moon rose and glowed on the woods around us. Nearby, Bill’s barn sat halfway completed.
At the last minute, we had decided to camp in the upstairs of the barn. We had electricity, running water, and a toilet. What more could we want? I brought a few blankets, pillows and two blow up beds. But a barn without insulation or heat is about the same as sleeping outside. Cold as a deep winter freeze.
It got down to in the forties. Maybe not cold compared to Alaska, but cold for Oklahoma. I wore long johns, two shirts and socks. Bill, thankfully, brought me a sleeping bag. He didn’t need one because he LOVES cold weather. He took two blankets, and I folded the third blanket to spread over my sleeping bag.
Still chilly, I unzipped the sleeping bag and slipped on my light jacket and nestled down again.
Now I can’t sleep until my body temperature is somewhere above 100 degrees, so once he began snoring, I wiggled out of the sleeping bag one more time, pulled on his extra pants and heavy Cabella hoodie, and wiggled back into the sleeping bag.
Still cold, I pulled the hoodie over my head and lay quiet listening to the outside sounds. Now only my feet and nose were like ice.
The small space heater faced my derriere. I moved it to my feet. Then to my face. Any warmth it might have blown out instantly vanished through the thin walls. I wanted to shove my husband and invite him into my sleeping bag, but he had dislodged his blankets and spread out like a comfortable Polar bear.
Of course, the next thing that happens in the middle of a camping night is the necessity of a bathroom trip.
The toilet was outside –down the stairs. Back into the barn.
I tried to be quiet as I wormed out of my cocoon again, turned on my cell phone light, put on my shoes, and snuck out the door. Bill didn’t hear a thing. I shone the light around the wooded area, heard nothing, and ventured down the wooden stairs around the corner. It was so cold I could see my breath.
I opened the downstairs barn door, saw moving shadows, screamed, and jumped back.
We had seen raccoons and deer and snakes around the place. I calmed myself down. The light played on the four wheelers, looking spooky, but I saw no movement, not even a field mouse, only my shaking light. I stumbled through a scattering of wood, tools, and other men’s toys, until I got to the toilet. There’s something weird about stripping down four layers of clothing in the middle of a barn when it’s freezing weather.
Safely back upstairs, I decided to wear my shoes to bed to help keep my feet warm. I climbed into the sleeping bag with them on. The zipper of the bag got stuck halfway open and it took fifteen minutes to loosen it. Needless to say I didn’t get much sleep, as I tossed and turned to stay warm. I finally fell asleep toward morning.
The sun wasn’t up yet when I heard Bill stretch and exclaim, “That was a great night, wasn’t it?” A chipper camper is not the first thing I wanted to hear. He heated water for hot chocolate, and watched the sun come up.
When I slowly crawled out of my sleeping bag, he turned to look at me and laughed. “Well, good morning, Michelin man. How did you sleep?” With my layers of clothing, topped off with his huge pants and oversized hoodie, I suppose I did look like a stuffed elephant.
I wanted to slug him, but what could I do when he brought me a cup of hot tea? After all, I had swiped his hoodie and refused to give it back.
Didn’t the Lord teach that all people will know that we are followers if we love each other? John 13:35
Ah. Yes. We love one another even if we have differences.