Ranger Tom

A couple of weeks ago we went camping- me, my sister, my mom and dad, and the boys.

We've been camping a million times, and I'm pretty sure the secret to a good camping trip is constant eating.  Everything will be good as long as nobody runs out of snacks.

On this trip, pretty much as soon as we pull into our camping spot, Dad notices that the pipe to the water faucet is leaking, and leaking quite a bit. I call the ranger's station and they say they'll send someone right over to look.

Several park rangers show up in multiple vehicles.  They establish, that yes, the pipe is busted and will need to be replaced.  They bust out some shovels and plumbing supplies and speedily and handily fix the pipe and are on their way.

While they were working, my dad went over to check out the situation.  He introduced himself to the one ranger that ended up doing all the work, Ranger Tom.

Ranger Tom was friendly and seemed to drive by our campsite all the time.  Everywhere we went, we'd run into Ranger Tom.

On a bike ride to the beach?  There's Ranger Tom.

On a trip to the trash bins?  Ranger Tom again.

On a bathroom adventure?  Hey, Ranger Tom!

Now, in addition to constant eating, we have a couple of other family rules for camping to ensure we have a pleasant time.  The kids get way more freedom than usual, nobody has to shower or change clothes unless they want to, and there's always grown-up juice for the adults, if they want it.

On our second night, we're all filthy and getting hungry (uh-oh).

We start prepping for our lasagna dinner.  Dad is stoking the fire with leaves (which I'm pretty sure you're not supposed to do), Mom and I are drinking wine (also frowned upon, pretty sure), Clay is off somewhere riding his bike (we shout for him periodically and he returns), and Corbin is throwing trash in the fire every time we turn our back to him (definitely a no-no).

This whole trip, we've been the loudest people in this campground.  We're a loud bunch by nature, but when you put us outside, we're even louder.  And I'm pretty sure we were the only family with kids too, so that upped the loud ante as well.

So we're sitting there, being loud and bad when Ranger Tom drives by like three times.  On his third pass he pulls into our campsite.

We all look at each other, like "Shit, we're in trouble."

He walks over and says, "I've been watching you guys."

We exchange more guilty glances.

Is it the booze?  The free-range child?  The shouty-ness?  The burning of inappropriate materials?  

WHAT ARE WE GETTING IN TROUBLE FOR???

He continues and says something along the lines of "You guys are my favorite sort of family."

We exchange more confused glances amongst ourselves.  This isn't making any sense.

He goes on to say that he has been watching us over the past couple of days and that we seem to be having a ton of fun and that he made us "camping bracelets."

We weren't in trouble at all.  We were feeling guilty for nothing.

Now I don't know if "camping bracelets" are a real thing or a Ranger Tom thing or what, but I love the fact that we all assumed that he was going to yell at us, but instead gave us presents.

Camping Bracelets



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