The Things We Do For Love

December 29th, 2011

My only childhood camping experience was as a girl scout in South Jersey. We “camped” in a dank, mosquito-infested cabin. By midnight I was so asthmatic that my parents had to come rescue me. I was through with camping forever… and then I met Peter.

My husband is an outdoorsy type. I wanted to share the things he loves with him, so off to the woods we went. Unfortunately, all the years we’ve spent camping together have not changed two truths that haunt me: 1) I will have to go to the bathroom in the dead of night, and 2) I will be mauled by a bear in my tent.

This summer’s excursion took us to the Sierras with friends. We climbed to 9,000 feet, turned down a dirt road, and drove hours to find the perfect spot. It was so lovely that I was on a nature high well after sunset.

Then bedtime came. I passed the night in terror, waiting for death to come on big bear feet. The second night, I suffered gastrointestinal disturbances (from a combo of altitude, booze, and barbeque) so intense that I spent more time squatting in the freezing woods than snuggling with my warm husband. On the third day the rains came: biblical rains, hail, thunder, and lightning. Our tents were flooding… but it was too late to leave.

Miraculously, we survived. The next morning we packed our soggy gear into the car and slogged to the mainroad. Halfway down the mountain we found a radio station that was playing the top hits of 1976. We screamed along to “Afternoon Delight,” finally dry and happy. My husband and I agreed that was the best moment of the entire trip.

Maybe next year I can convince him to rent a cabin.

Marriage is a heady concoction of love, trust, compromise and compassion. You can’t always get your way 100% of the time in a relationship, but if you are willing to bend you may be surprised at what you learn from your partner and about yourself.



Our Friends Say
  1. leslie says:

    Harriet, your description of marriage is well said and spot on. After 30 years, compromise is our middle name…and it works. There’s no camping for my east coast city boy, so our traveling compromise comes at a different price. Oh, how I would so love to go to Paris…or London…or even Hawaii for that matter….but to no avail….instead, I get Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia. Instead of a bidet, I get a fly infested, bring your own toilet paper, hole in the ground outhouse. But there are redeeming qualities to this….gratefulness and humility…and so glad to be home. I would still be an obnoxious Jewish princess, if it weren’t for one very smart and generous NY city boy.

    • Harriet says:

      Beautifully put Leslie. I hope that you can convince your city boy to go to Paris with you someday. If not, you should grab a girlfriend and treat yourself to a fabulous, bidet-filled adventure in the city of light. Just because it’s not his cup of tea, you shouldn’t miss the wonders that places like Paris, London or Hawaii have to offer.

      Besides, you and your husband will always have Laos. All the best!

  2. celeste says:

    One word : glamping!


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