Saturday, February 28, 2009


Once again I hear the welcome beating of the rain on my roof. According to the weather lady, we can expect it all day today, and maybe a portion of tomorrow. It's ok...we've had drought for so long, it'll be worth it to have every drop.

Rain always brings the memories of our camping trips. One memorable time, we took our gear and headed north, from East Hampton to New Hampshire. It was our first trip to that area of the state, and we chose to go to North Woodstock. For some reason, we'd been playing a game of 'let's visit all the Woodstocks in the country" before our camping days were over. (By the way, we haven't visited a place with that name in years... then again, we haven't done much camping lately either.)

We wound our way along the back roads, which is our habit when traveling, rather than taking the non-scenic, drag strip called the Interstate. Enjoying every moment together and remarking at a waterfall or someone's flower garden, we followed the map and found N. Woodstock without incident. We discovered a place called "Waterest Campground." Stopping at the log cabin office, we asked if we could take a ride through and see the site before making a choice. Getting approval from the very nice couple behind the counter, we took a tour through the campground. It was set above and beside a roaring creek. The sites were all 'rustic' wooded spots, good sized, with a few water faucets. Both of those were great according to our list, but there was one thing that we weren't thrilled with. There was no bathroom ...just a privy...and no showers.

So...we left, and drove over the creek bridge to the next campground...a KOA. One look at the facilities, a laundry room, game room, pool, shower house, bathroom facilities, and a huge, grassy "parking lot" with camp sites made up our minds. We went back to the Waterest. Open fields camping can in no way compare to the woods.

Again entering the log cabin, we rented our space, and went to choose a spot to place our big, canvas, two-room home for the week. We chose a spot overlooking the creek, just where the water tumbled over the boulders. It was beautiful, serene, and comforting to hear the water. We set up camp...tarps under the tent, and one over the roof, and set about unpacking. I don't think we'd gotten too far before the rain started.

Ralph and Ruth, the owners at the office had no tarps in their camp store big enough for us. They told us where the nearest hardware store was, a little way up the road, and up at the top of the hill. We jumped back in the van and went in search of a large tarp that would completely cover the tent. While there, Mike refilled his ever-present bottomless coffee mug.

By the time we made it back to camp, the rain was really falling. We fixed the tarp over the tent roof, and tried to figure out what dinner would be, since cooking wasn't an option at that point. I don't remember for sure, but I believe we went to the Woodstock Inn, formerly an old train station. There was a ticket booth inside, and the decor was geared around old times. There were old-fashioned bits of clothing on the walls, as well as railroad lanterns, suitcases, etc. The tables were thick-tops set upon treadle sewing machine bottoms...pedals and all! A charming place with delicious food.

I digress. We went to sleep early that night, to the sound of pouring rain drumming on the tarp. So much for the wonderful creek sound rolling over rock and rill! Before the week was over, I believe we purchased nearly every large tarp in N.Woodstock, and as a result, received free coffee every time we entered the door of that hilltop hardware store. Our camp looked like tarp city. We'd even figured out how to stretch a tremendous one between the trees in such a way that we could drive the the van under it, so we could reach our food items in the rear without getting wet. We cooked under that tarp, ate under that tarp and lived under a number of plastic sheets for our whole vacation! It's a long-standing joke between us that, though there was no running water installed in the campground, we had running water! We have a photo of me, holding a kettle under the water pouring off the tent tarp.

As I listen to the rain on my shingled roof here, many, many miles from that time and place in New Hampshire, I smile. Rain. Life giving, memory making rain. Thank you, Lord!