Alan Sherman’s ballad about life at Camp Granada was spot on. It’s all about the attitude. The unhappy camper wrote his parents about poison ivy and alligators, reporting that his bunkmate had come down with malaria. We tend to exaggerate about the out of doors. Away from home, mosquitoes are the size of humming birds. A pebble under your bedroll feels like the pea did to the princess. The weather turns arctic (or equatorial). Thunder, lightening and hail, visits from skunks, snakes and folks from the tent next door who want to recite their health record and genealogy are the things we remember. But none of this keeps us from heading for the woods.
Reasons people give for wanting to go camping seem plausible. There’s the call of nature. Thoughts of fresh air, cold mountain streams, starry nights, and the smell of pine prompt us to pack our minivans and get out of Dodge. Sights and sounds that don’t rely on cords, batteries or satellite signals are increasingly precious. Maybe we just want to prove we can go a weekend without cable.