My New Experience: Tent Camping (A humorous look)

My husband was not having the best day,  so I figured why not humor him and go camping. He’s been talking about wanting to do this ever since we met, and that was about 40 years ago. (We did go once with the kids, and I haven’t been back. That was around 25 or 30  years ago.)    I do like to walk and bike, but I’m not fond of bugs, or an uncomfortable bed. I am basically an old girly girl.
Anyway, I say, ” I want to try something different.  let’s go camping today.” Not wanting  to miss a golden opportunity  he quickly loads the car. He takes the tent he optimistically bought last year, and never used. He also packs some food, peanut butter, bread, ice, water, towels and a blanket.  He also takes Kodak —the defunct photo company—  rafts we used 40 years ago, and a blow-up mattress he bought who knows when.
He forgets the air compressor. I guess he was in a big hurry to go before I changed my mind. He doesn’t usually forget anything.
We get to the camping site, about an hour away. The first thing I notice is there are hardly any stand alone tents. There’s all these fancy motor homes, and cute pop-up tents. I’m thinking, “Maybe tent camping isn’t all it’s cracked up to be.”

I  already know this, but I figure I can try it every 30  years or so.
After 20 minutes he puts up the tent. (He’s good at that kind of stuff). I’m reading the directions which he pays absolutely no attention to because he can see how everything fits together without them.
Everything is going along beautifully until he figures out he forgot the air compressor. Meanwhile, we’ve pulled next to a family about 5 little girls. We know we’re old because we think the mother is a teenager at first.
One of the  little girls (about 3)  hurries up and draws me a picture, and tells me her name. She seems to have a speech impediment, so I have to guess, Olive, Ella?  Finally her mother tells me it’s Alice.
Anyway, they are staring at us. They can’t believe it when we both start blowing up the Kodak rafts and the air mattress. Finally I ask,”Do you have an air compressor?” I figure they do because they have a fancy trailer thing.
The mother asks,”Are you guys new to camping?” Then she makes a remark about how adorable we are. I guess it’s cause we look as old as we feel compared to her.
She gives us a compressor, but it doesn’t work, so my poor husband resorts to blowing up the air mattresses using his breath. I’ve already expended all of mine.
Finally, night comes. I don’t know what to do. No computer, no television, and no light to read the book I brought.

My husband lights a lantern that he expertly pumps up. But that goes up in flames. So, he blows until that goes out.”Guess that had too much gas,” he says.
He finally sets up the tent. He doesn’t want me to be uncomfortable because if I wait another 30 years we’ll both be in our 90′s or dead.
I get in the tent. Not easy to get in that small zippered passageway.  It’s not bad, very cozy. After a couple of hours both ancient mattresses and Kodak floats have deflated. He thinks they had a leak, but I think they have aged just like us.
I am trying to suppress my usual inclination to complain. I only utter, “this is ridiculous once or twice. When I go to the bathroom, a huge ant climbs up my foot. I hurry up and get out of there!

I’ll give it another chance. But we’ll have some new mattress things, and an air compressor.

Right now the lodge sounds pretty good to me.


Tents (Photo credit: avlxyz)

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Marc Levison ALS Race Sunday, Sept 2, 2012 at Jeffrey Mansion in Bexley, Ohio

Marc & Eileen Levison

English: Lou Gehrig Monument in Yankee Stadium

Lou Gehrig had ALS  like Marc Levison

My friend Marc Levison died October 8, 2009. I can’t believe it’s been so long. He fought a long hard battle against a terrible disease, ALS, better known as Lou Gehrig’s disease. He would want you to know that he didn’t die of ALS, he died of cancer.

Here is an excerpt from a story  I wrote about him several weeks before his death.

Marc was one of the most inspirational person I’ve ever met. When the little things in life get me down, I think about him, and the battle he courageously fought. In the end he couldn’t move, talk so you could understand him, but he wanted to be around people and they wanted to be around him. He wrote, via email to hundreds, maybe thousands of people

His family established a race, in his honor, that takes place every labor day. I wrote this profile about him several weeks before his death. I was documenting his life, and the race that was so important to him. The race, the Marc Levison Race still takes place every labor day.

Marc Levison―Local Hero

Marc Levison was excited. He maneuvered his wheelchair up and down the sidewalk in front of Jeffrey mansion, a park in Bexley, Ohio.

He surveyed the early morning crowd. He was gratified that so many people were registering for his 5K race on Labor day weekend.

The Marc Levison 7th annual ALS race would be underway soon. Levison couldn’t walk or run in the race, but others would honor him by taking his place and donating to his cause―finding a cure for ALS.

ALS (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis) is also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease. Lou Gehrig was a New York Yankee baseball player in the 1930’s who contracted and died from this disease. It attacks brain cells in the spinal cord and brain.

Eventually, the muscles of the body weaken and waste away. People usually live 3 to 5 years after being diagnosed.

ALS began attacking Levison’s muscles 21 years ago.

People who knew Levison when he was younger, remember a tall lanky guy with a great sense of humor and a gift of gab. Muscles are necessary for speech; fortunately, Levison found another way to communicate.

Luckily, the personal computer became popular and more accessible when he was losing some of his physical abilities. He’s used it to reach hundreds of people. His goal was to influence people to value the important things in life: love, charity and friendship. Sitting in a wheelchair gave him a unique perspective.

You can’t mention Levison without thinking about Eileen, his devoted wife of 42 years. She stood by him and did what she could to make his life easier. They met when they were in high school.

Levison joined the navy and went to fight the war in Vietnam. When he came home on leave, they got married. After a few years they had a home in Bexley, and two sons, Brent and Kevin. Both Levisons worked for Plaza properties; he was an electrician and she managed apartments.

Life took an unexpected turn when Levison started having difficulty walking. The family was devastated when they heard the diagnosis: ALS.

Levison lived for 21 years with a disease that was supposed to his him in 3 to 5 . From the beginning Levison was determined to approach things in a positive way.

Judaism is the foundation of Levison’s life, and his faith sustained him. He was continually inspiring others by his good deeds and attitude. In typical Levison style, he visited people at Heritage House and  Sunrise Senior Living―faciilities for older people in Columbus, Ohio. His goal was to cheer them up, and he did.

Levison was proud of all the money he raised to fight ALS. The money wet to the Neuromuscular Research Center at the Nationwide Children’s Hospital.

Quitting was not in Levison’s vocabulary. He fought the cancer with chemotherapy

The evening before the race, Levison was at Starbucks in Bexley, Ohio. He was listening to Soul Kitch’n, the band that was kicking off the start of the race. He was greeting everyone who came to the crowded outdoor patio. Nothing could keep him away, not even the first chemotherapy treatment he received the previous day.

Update: the money raised at the race bought a very important microscope for research. Although Marc is gone, you can still help fight the fight. Money raised at the race is going for research.

The 10th Marc Levison race is on Sunday, September 2,  at Jeffrey Mansion. Pre-registration is at 7:30. The race is at 8:30.  

You can get information at