Camping with the Women

I am at a campground with a bunch of my women friends. Some of us arrived last night and sat in our chairs along the edge of the lake. A cool breeze felt heavenly after the long stretch of heat we’ve had.

One tells the story of her grandmother in the nursing home crying “My pants are falling; my pants are falling” When she took her into the washroom to check out what her problem might be she found that her grandmother was wearing one of those upper body shirts that we used to call muscle shirts totally upside down.

I tell the story of my Aunt Rose who was a bookie in Chicago. She was the same one who, when her grandson experienced bullying from kids in school, thought to fill her freezer with snowballs. When spring came, she loaded him up to go out and massacre his defenseless tormenters.

Last night a storm came through and we gathered around the table in our hostess’s small camper. Her husband called to tell her to turn on the weather radio that they had purchased for safety-sake. Five of us fiddled with the radio as the camper shook and we could hear items blow around outside. After a while the storm passed. Thank God for that radio. We never got it to work, but it kept us occupied until the danger passed.

My friend blew a fuse in her camper because there were too many appliances plugged in. All we cared about was the coffee.


I am in the town of Grey Eagle. One of my friends is a student and needed to come to the town’s library this morning to send off some of her work. I came along to do my blog. I love small town libraries. For small towns, the library is often the only place stuff happens. Our little libraries in central Minnesota host musicians, magicians, story-tellers, artists, writers, discussion groups, town meetings, and visits by legislators. Many citizens come to use the internet for study, to seek jobs, and for information. Some would not be able to do these things if it were not for their little libraries. I dread the day we will not be able to fund them.

Home now…tired and feeling fat. It took me forever to get connected to the internet. When I finally did get to my blog, I saw that there were two responses to my blog about the Olympian. Yesterday, I had run it by to my friend in the library to ask if she thought it was disrespectful. She said it was really funny so I posted it. I didn’t know how to respond to my blog guests. I didn’t feel bad about the blog. I gave it some thought while I was dragging the garbage bin out to the street.

Here is what I want to say: sometimes humor is meant to be laughing at one’s self even if it seems to be directed at someone else. In this case, I find it somewhat humorous the way we Americans will use our values, our way of life, our ways of seeing things as “the norm” when we judge people of other cultures or critique the ways they try to solve their problems. It is part of our national egocentrism.

2 thoughts on “Camping with the Women”

  1. I was one who responded to your Olympian post. I didn’t think your post was at all disrespectful. I saw the humor in it. I just figured you probably didn’t know about how Chinese athletes are removed from their families as young children. It was also true in the old USSR, not sure how it is now.

    1. I always welcome your comments, Elizabeth. I felt fine about your comment. I don’t have a lot of knowledge about Chinese culture but I have had the experience of being among the Guatemalan people and realized that many of their practices and traditions are different than ours but make lots of sense when you are there and see how they live on a day-to-day basis. Those that hosted our visits to Guatemals opened our eyes to the trait of Americans that I was referring to in this blog. We tend to assume that the way we do things is the way people all over the world should do things. The sad thing, I believe, is that our outcomes aren’t always much to be proud of.

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