We wanted to beat the rush, so after dinner we hooked up the camper and put our two excited toddlers in the SUV and began the four hour drive to the Ozarks.
We arrived just before midnight, and the crowd we were trying to beat was already there.
We finally found an empty camping spot and tried to set up the camper and keep the children quiet and soon discovered neither of those would be easy tasks.
We set up lanterns and gave the children some juice boxes and mini-marshmallows and started to work on getting the camper set up.
We noticed the kids were being really good.
We could hear them giggling and we were whispering to each other what a great idea this was! Trying to make a pop-up camper level, on gravel, (silently) in the middle of the night with a 4 & 5 year old playing in the moonlight was not nearly as bad as we expected! Just as we were about to declare our pop-up - popped-up; we were interrupted by the scream of our little boy, followed by the loud laughter of our little girl.
Rushing to them and trying to find out what happened, the story unfolded.
Though we already had our first clue! The children were feeding marshmallows to the "kitty-cat".
(No, we did not have a kitty-cat!) Our son wanted to take the cat inside the camper to sleep with him.
When he tried to pick up his new friend, the cat "peed" on him! But from the horrific smell at the campsite and on our son, we knew the kitty-cat was black with a white stripe down his back.
Not only did our site smell; the sites around us smelled and for the entire week-end we got to hear the other campers express their joy over that.
We could not get the smell of the skunk off of the children or their clothes.
The odor invaded the SUV, the camper and held on tight.
Not willing to give up on our adventure, we pressed on.
The hot dogs tasted unique, but we learned to hold our breath before each bite.
Being from the south, we tried the home remedies of our forefathers.
Our children were bathed in tomato juice.
We washed their hair in lemon juice.
The result was two smelly, tomato flavored toddlers, with sun-streaked hair.
That was 30 years ago.
That little boy now has a little boy and a little girl of his own.
This weekend, they are taking their new pop-up camper to the same mountain site for Memorial Day weekend.
They have already explained to the kids, about the unusual "kitty-cats" that live there.
And just in case, they are taking a case of tomato juice.