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Marriage. Lotta hard work, no? To have a successful one, much compromise is needed. At least that’s what Caroline and I have found. And the most amazing middle ground we’ve ever reached just might be the one we sleep on each and every summer.
You see, I’m an avid camper. I go at least four times a year. One of those excursions is my annual section hike of the Appalachian Trail. When we first met, Caroline thought such trips sounded miserable. Or so I gathered from her now-famous quote:
“My idea of camping out is ordering room service from the Ritz.”
Secretly, I vowed to change that because I wanted my crew to be the type that went on plenty of family camping trips. And I had a plan. The vehicle of change? Alli.
That’s right. I used my stepdaughter as a pawn to capture the queen so I could drag her Majesty to the woods. And it worked like a charm. After all, Alli, like virtually all kids who are exposed to camping, was hooked from word go.
“That was more fun than the beach,” was Alli’s exact quote upon returning from our first outing, words which caused her mama’s eyes to grow wide with wonder. Soon thereafter, Caroline began asking several questions about this noble outdoor pursuit. Questions, my friends, which were clear buying signs.
“Where do you go to the bathroom?”
“How do you cook your food?”
“How do you stay warm?”
“What do you do during the day?”
Instead of capitalizing on these questions and trying to close an immediate sale, I simply answered them as clearly as I could for her, hoping my explanations would lead this inquisitive horse to the very water she wondered how I purified. (Note to readers — stay away from analogies that depict your wife as a horse. It’s okay for me, because I’m a highly trained professional. Plus, our couch is super-comfortable.)
You see, I knew that no hard sell would be needed. This product was capable of selling itself. Which is why it should come as no surprise when you learn what Caroline and I would eventually do together.
Indeed, the queen would soon become a camping monarch — reigning ever so sovereignly upon her very own throne.
I know. That’s quite enough on the throne jokes, right?
Well then let me switch gears and tell you this. Caroline’s first camping experience was such a good one that, like her daughter, she bought in hook, line and sinker. Which means our crew is now one that enjoys our family camping trips. We go once per year, usually to the same spot, on the banks of a remote and beatific little finger lake in western North Carolina.
So, Luke, at just 13 months last year, was a bit too young to go. (He stayed with Miss B.) But the triplets and Alli were obviously good to go and were stoked when they learned that we’d invited another family to go with us.
How did it go, you ask? Quite well. Here. See for yourself. Let’s start with…
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