On Monday night the five of us were all snuggled into our sleeping bags in our eight man tent at a beautiful Ontario provincial park when at 2:30 am the raccoons found the bag of garbage that we had forgotten to put away before we had tucked ourselves in.
Fighting raccoons are loud. Fighting raccoons at 2:30 in the morning two feet from your head are scary. Just ask my twelve year old daughter who I think aged another twelve years in that moment. It probably didn’t help that I jumped up and disorientedly (is that a word?) in the dark, blurted out, ‘Where are they? Are they in the tent?’ Poor Jen, this is not what she wanted to hear – she went into hysterics. As she cried and I groped my way over to try and reassure her, I demanded that my husband Dave get out there and ‘defend his family’.
It turned out a few minutes later that the reason darling husband hadn’t already jumped out of his sleeping bag and run to his ‘girls’ rescue was because he was stark naked in his sleeping bag.
Just as I managed to find and switch on the lantern that hung over head, he climbed out of his bag and stood up to soundly smack his head on it. Great. I now had a naked man in pain, a hysterical twelve year old, fighting raccoons, a slightly bewildered nine year old, and a seven year old some how blissfully sleeping through all of this.
So, I was the brave one. I ventured out into the cold dark wilderness and by my trembling little light picked up all the garbage, put it back into the garbage bag then locked it up in the car. I didn’t see anything but then I wasn’t looking too closely either.
Once back inside and safe behind my nylon walls, I calmed everyone back into bed, but about half an hour later the raccoons came back. This time I threw shorts at Dave and demand that he get the ‘heck’ out there and do something as now both of my older kids were on my air mattress clinging on to me for dear life. I couldn’t go any where if I had wanted to – and to be honest, I really didn’t want to.
Again, my youngest is sound asleep, a little mountain of pink oblivious to everything – she is also sweetly sleeping ‘star fish fashion’ thus taking up three quarters of the tent. It didn’t matter though as the rest of us were all curled up in a frightened little family ball in the corner.
Being the ‘man of the family’ Dave was forced to go out and deal with the scary things that were threatening his family in the dark wilderness. He actually did find the huge frightening creatures (or so he tells us) and with great skill, chivalry and brave acts scared them away. Our hero.
The next morning finds us eating breakfast at our picnic table while we congratulate ourselves on surviving the nights horrors. Then my youngest daughter looks up at the branches of the closest oak tree and spies three of the cutest little creatures I have ever seen.
She’s found raccoons – but these are tiny things, roughly about the size of our six month kitten, with huge black eyes, sweet little paws, tiny little milk teeth and they are yawning and mewing at us as they play in the tree above us. They look about as scary as a teddy bear.
These of course couldn’t be the same animals that had us cowering in fear the night before, those ones must have been ten times that size with massive fangs – right?
The reason we don’t camp too often? We are wimps.