this past summer the family and i drove out to the west coast for our vacation.  we stayed in sacramento for a few days, but for the most part it was one-night stays at cheap motels and campgrounds.  we actually made it all the way to vancouver canada.

we were heading back from vancouver and we just passed the border back in to the us.  as soon as i could i headed west so we could drive along the strait of georgia.  it was getting pretty late as we followed these misleading signs to some camp ground.  it could be just me, but i’m pretty sure the signs were misleading, mostly because they didn’t seem to add up mileage wise.  one sign claimed it was 5 miles ahead, the next sign 5 miles away, claimed it was 3!  anyway, that’s not my story…. we finally found the camping area and quickly put our camp together.  since we had been driving by the seats of our pants [so to speak], we really didn’t know if we were goign to stay in a hotel, or camp, eat in a restaurant, or hunt and kill our food.  we had no food to speak of.   luckily there was a store less than one mile away, where i bought some marshmellows, hot dogs, buns, and some really long forks for roasting stuff over a fire.

i’m not a very good pyro-technician so it took me several tries to get the fire going.  i was a little worried that i was going to run out of matches, but i still had about ten left as the fire became self sustained [i am not going to tell you how many i started with].   anyway, we grabed our long roasting forks and started cooking the dogs. the first round went flawlessly, with the exception that some of us may have over cooked things a bit.  my younges kid was the first to start off the second round of cooking. … i guess he was really hungry.

[flash back]

so as a kid i grew up camping with my father and older brother.  i was used to doing a lot of unsanitary things…like eating without a napkin, picking food up from the floor and eating it, eating without washing hands, etc… my kids are not like that at all.  every once in a while i feel compelled to teach them the same basic “survival” skills i grew up with.

[end flash back]

as my kid got about half way through cooking his second dog, it broke free from the stick and fell to the ground just outside the fire ring.  it landed into the soft powdery dirt which was a combination of dirt and ashes from previous fires.  the dog was a gonner, half cooked, completely engulfed in black dirt and miscellaneous particles.  my kid started getting all upset because that was the last hotdog and he now wasted one.  well, that’s about when i stepped in.  i told him it was just a little dirt, if he washed it off and finished cooking it he wouldn’t even be able to tell the difference.  we argued back and forth a while, with him finally refusing to ever eat that hog dog.  i called him a big sissy [and maybe a crybaby i don’t remember] i took the disgustingly dirt coveredhog dog, and washed it off with the run-off from the ice chest.

[note] the water coming out of the ice chest was not the ideal water source to be washing anything off with. for one there was no back pressure to knock off any small dirt particles that may have found a safe place to cling on. two, the water was from melted store ice that had been commingling around with everything in the ice chest.

i did the best i could before i ran out of “water” and put the hot dog back on the stick.  i tried to slowly cook it, so all small germ would be killed and i could avoid ebola.  the whole time i was cooking, i started preaching to the kids about how “soft” they were, and that they need to get tougher….blah blah blah.  my hot dog was finally done.  i put it in a bun, add a little catchup, and took one overly enthusiastic bite.

as i bit into it i could feel a little crunchy dirt particles that some how didn’t get blasted off when i washed it.  i forged ahead and kept chewing.  before i took the second bite, i decided to look more closely just in case there was some big particle that i could preemptivly remove.  when i looked closely i found nothing, but i did notice that my hot dog had small linear grooves cut along the length, to help it cook inside better.  i usually do this when i cook hot dogs because i like them cooked inside a little.  i went ahead and took the second bite, with all eyes still on me.   this second bite was no better than the first only it was much smaller, but still filled with dirt and what not.  as i was about half way through chewing the second bite, i asked my son how he made the cooking grooves in the hot dog.

he said, “with my finger nails”

the moment he said that, i stopped chewing and viciously gaged.   the kids laughed… they started mocking me, by telling me how “tough” i was…it went on and on.  i didn’t back down, i told them i was just pretending and took another bite.  this time i though about the dirt, the fingernails, and the dirty ice chest water…… another gag.  i continued to play it off as if it wasn’t a big deal, but inside i was going over my will. i knew i was going to die of something from that disease infested hot dog.

i finished it, and don’t really think i proved anything to my kids…..

here it is three months later, and i am still alive!

One comment on: never back down

  1. rugratsx4

    Sooo been there, although I usually take the “responsibility” track. That is usually when someone points out what I have currently phone, wallet, one of the children… You ate the nasty hot dog and you lived, you won!! Dang..forgot..what is it am i supposed to be doing right now….?

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