A Tale of Max and Sam and Oliver
It started Monday.
“Mom, do we have any filet in the freezer?’ Max asked me.
Uh, yes. I’m pretty sure we do,” I replied thinking that he was yearning for one of his Uncle Joe’s best recipes: what we affectionately call “heart attack on bread,“ an artery clogging delight that is grilled filet of beef, sliced and dropped into a pot of butter, then tossed on thick slices of fresh Italian bread. Just typing the description makes my mouth water.
“Do you think I could take some camping?” he asked.
“Camping, Max? Where?” I peppered him with questions as the primitive part of my brain coped with the fact I wasn’t going to get “heart attack” anytime soon.
“Up across the state border. Oliver, Sam and me. We’ll hike the five miles in from the trailhead and either stay in the lean-to at the top of the mountain or hike down and pitch our tent in the cave. It’ll be fun, Mom, and we’ll be together.”
“So is it okay if I take the beef?” he asked.
“Sure, it’s fine. And take anything else you need too. What did you have in mind?” I asked the teenager who loves to eat.
“Oh, maybe some rice,” he replied.
Late Monday night I walked into the kitchen and found Max packing food for the trip. He was taking raw eggs, wrapping them in individual napkins, then stuffing them into a wide mouthed water bottle.
After watching him for a bit I asked, “Why not just leave them in the cardboard carton they came in?”
“Nah, they’ll break in that,” he said as he carefully stuffed another egg into the bottle.
Shrugging, I left him to his egg stuffing and walked by the growing pile of camping supplies in the front hallway: tent, sleeping bag, stove, cold weather gear, boots. . . the list went on and I went to bed.
At about 2 am the wind woke me up. It was howling, loudly. I got up and looked out the window. The huge beech tree in the front yard was swaying, which is really unusual, then I saw the branches on the cherry tree next door thrashing and swaying like the tree was fending off an attacker of some sort. It was the wind.
When I got up at 8 am Tuesday, Max was already up, dressed in cold weather gear and finishing his packing, checklist in hand. The wind was still blowing, with gusts up to 50 mph, according to the local weather service.
Oliver and Sam arrived, smiles on their faces and sandwiches from a local deli in their hands for their lunches. I watched them talk and divvy up the supplies; these young men are comfortable with each other and the pre-camping routine.
As they got ready to head out the front door I turned to Oliver and asked a typical (at least for me) Mom question, “Oliver, what do you do if you hear a huge ‘crack’ over your head while you’re hiking in the woods today?”
Smiling, he answered immediately,” I run.”
“Sam? What would you do?”
Sam’s eyes start to drift skyward, but before they could really get there, Oliver says, “You run because a branch or a tree is falling and you have to get out of the way.”
Sam smiles, “I know.”
They promised to call me when they reached the trailhead and again when they reached the top of the mountain and the lean-to.
“I know we’ll have cell service at the trailhead and definitely at the top of the mountain” Oliver said. But we won’t have any in the cave.”
They took off with Sam behind the wheel.
At 11:30 am I received the first text from Max: “Found trailhead. V cold. No service for call. Ttyl on mountain.”
At 2:45 pm I received the second text: “2 mi away. Took wrong turn. All good now. It be cold.”
At 8:15 pm I receive a phone call as Mike, Tory and I are eating dinner, all nice and warm: “Hey, it’s Max.”
“How are you guys? Is it cold?” I asked.
“It’s really cold, but I’m calling to tell you thanks for dinner, Mom. The filet was still pretty frozen when we started cooking, but we used the grill basket from Papa and it turned out great. We had the rice too. It’s all good. “
“Well, how’s the weather?” I asked.
“It is freezing. The wind is howling and it’s about minus 3 degrees. We’re good. We decided to stay in the lean-to on the top of the mountain. We set up the tent inside, and after we finished cooking, we banked a fire,” he replied.
“So you’re all warm?” I asked.
We’re as warm as we’ll get, Mom. I’ll call in the morning when we start to hike out,” he replied.
Cell service is a wonderful thing. Heat is a wonderful thing.
Please note that as I typed this Tuesday night it was 15 degrees outside and the wind was blowing. Was I worried about these young men? Yes, because I’m a Mom and I care about all three of these young men. No, because they are, all three of them, Eagle Scouts. They’ve camped together since they were Cub Scouts in all kinds of weather, including snow in January. They are young, they are smart, and collectively, they make one really intelligent, mature adult male. God bless them.
Did you notice that I didn’t post this story until our young men returned home safe. I’m a Mom and I’m like that. I don’t tempt fate.