I had my day planned. A day of rest after a week of hard colt riding and three days of hosting a cowgirl retreat at my ranch. The morning allowed me to catch up on Women Writing the West correspondence and conference committee follow-ups.
With all of that done, I planned to eat and get back to polishing my manuscript for an appointment with an agent for the Women Writing the West conference and do a run through for my workshop speech.
The phone rang with my husband was on the other end. He informed me that his sister called (she is a fire investigator for Mt. Tolman, the Colville Tribes fire headquarters) with news that the tribe was kicking all recreational campers out of the woods and I needed to go and tell my dad, who was camped up Hall Creek and 45 minutes away at the base of the mountains. As we were talking, my oldest son’s number was beeping in on the other line. I left my husband on hold and answered the call. He also told me that my sister-in-law had called him with the news and to go tell my dad, his grandpa. Corey was at work and couldn’t help out.
So I hung up with both men and quickly got a bite to eat, filled up my water bottle, grabbed my manuscript and hit the road. I figured if my dad was out on his 4-wheeler, I could get in a little editing.
I arrived at the campground and sure enough the ATV was gone and so was my dad. So I sat in the shade of his tarp and edited the last bit of chapters I’d brought with me. Then walked to the creek. I wanted to check out the trail my husband and sons cut out. Last year a windstorm ripped through and littered the area with downfall, blocking access to much of the creek banks.
I walked down and investigated, then strode back to the truck to retrieve my cell phone and pictures. My next book is located in the area and since I was there I snapped a few more pictures, I figured a few more photos would add to presentations of the book when it is released. I took several photos and reveled in God’s creation. After a bit of reflection, I went back to camp.
I put my phone and manuscript back into my truck and decided to start tearing down camp. I at least could tear down the tarps that hung, tied with hundreds of ropes my dad has had for years. Hundreds may be a stretch, but not much. He loves those darned old ropes. We always tease him about naming them and sleeping with them, although they have to names and no he really doesn’t sleep with them. But still, when the wind sailed through and the tarps are still up, we knew he’d made the right decision. And as I looked at all the ropes I was about to untie, I could only shake my head and smile. Dad and his ropes.
I untied knot after knot and after an hour had both tarps down and folded. I heard the distant roar of an ATV and plucked my cell phone out of my truck. Looking down the road, I stood, ready, camera pointed in his direction. Pretty soon here came my white haired father with helmet and holster, cruising down the dusty trail. I’m surprised he left the spurs at home.
He parked the noisy beast beside me. At first he didn’t notice his tarps were down. I had to ask him if anything looked different. He kinda looked around and saw the emptiness of the canopy of his camp. I explained why I was there and we got to work. Three hours later, he loaded his 4-wheeler on its trailer and we headed home.
My dad is 79 and ½. He had open heart surgery late winter and is the model for men his age. He’s young at heart because he refuses to BE old.
As heat rises and lightning storms threaten the area, I’m thankful I was home to receive the call and help him break camp. I can only hope when I’m his age, I’m still in the saddle, camping and living, even if I have to tear down early and head home due to fire danger.