Throughout my life, I've slept in some unusal places.
• On the side of a string bass in a hotel room in St. Louis.
• The Sofia airport, with three other people in the whole building.
• The Vnukovo airport in Moscow, for three days.
• In the middle of a Son Volt show at First Ave.
• In a windowless underground bomb shelter in a house in Berlin occupied at one time by a Nazi official.
• With the entire St. Olaf College rugby team in one hotel room in St. Cloud.
But until Saturday night, I had never been camping in a tent.
If you know Matt, you might think this is odd. Matt is Mr. Norwegian Army Snow Training Camping, Mr. Eagle Scout, and Mr. Nature Boy all in one. Knowing Matt, you might think that he would have taken me camping at some point in our life together.
But we never got around to it. He never pressed the point, I never asked, and it just didn't happen. But now with our new tent, new canoe, and my new sleeping bag, we are ready to be a camping family.
We tried out the new canoe on the St. Louis river, putting in at our funny little campsite two hours after I walked out of work. It felt like escaping. The kids were great -- chatty but still -- and the canoe is perfect. Matt read from "The Voyageur" to the kids before bed, and John started "Tom Sawyer" for the first time.
The next morning, we wolfed some oatmeal and hit the river again, heading upstream with some provisions and good will. We saw two young bald eagles, but nothing much else of note, besides a low but beautiful river. We came back, broke camp, and were home just after lunch. Perfect.