Half Day Camp-out


It was a warm, lazy summer afternoon. Young John was talking to his friends, Bob and Ted. “How about going camping? I’ve got a tent and we all have sleeping bags. How about it? Let’s talk to our parents tonight and start plans?”

The following Monday, all three were ready to go for their three-day camping trip. Mother paused from her ironing. “Goodbye John, have a good time. There’s just one thing to remember, don’t go swimming in the creek. It’s full of sharp branches and debris on which you could easily hurt yourself; besides, you can’t swim.”

“Sure Mother, I’ll remember.” John hurried out to join Bob and Ted.

Soon they were all walking along the railway tracks that provided a shortcut to the camping area with their back-packs bulging with tent, bedding, food and camping gear. After some time, they arrived at their site and dropped their packs off and flopped down under a big spreading oak tree. After a little while, John got up, had a good stretch and said, “Sure could do with some food.”

So all three got busy and put the tent up and prepared their evening meal. After they had eaten, John said,”Let’s take turns washing the dishes. I’ll wash tonight; Bob, you tomorrow, then Ted.” All agreed.

“While John does the dishes, let’s take a dip Bob. That water looks so cool and inviting.”

“Sure thing Ted.” replied Bob. Soon they were in their swimming togs and splashing in the water. John so wanted to join them. Why had mother said he couldn’t go in, but his mind kept on her words, “Don’t go swimming in the creek...”

John decided he would at least go and watch the other two swimming, but in his haste to finish washing up, tipped the bowl of water over his clothes. So he changed into his swimming shorts, as he had no other shorts with him. Going down to the waters edge, he perched himself on a log. “Aren’t you coming in John?” called Ted. “Wish I could, but mother told me not to swim.”

“Well, you’ve got your swimming shorts on, you’re missing the fun. Come on in, your mother will never know.” Ted further called.

It was hot, the sky was blue, it was so tempting. Finally after a battle in his mind, John said, oh okay, just for a little while.” And yet he wrestled with his mother’s words.

Then the water started to fly and John was getting real wet. He slid down the bank into the water to get Ted and Bob back. It was cool and refreshing, but as the boys were jumping and splashing each other, John shot upwards,”Oh, I just stepped on something sharp.” He started for the bank and tried to pull himself up but couldn’t do it. “I need help you boys,.” he called. Ted and Bob tried to reach down, but the bank was steep and slippery and getting John halfway up, they slipped and John went back into the water, only to hurt his foot again on what was later found to be a broken bottle.

The boys struggled with him and got him out of the water, but remembering his clothes were wet, John only had his pyjamas left.

They then helped John out onto the road on the way into town and tried to stop some cars, but seeing three boys with one in a black and white striped suit, they thought he was a convict. A passing neighbour recognised them, picked them up and got John to the local doctor. When he saw it, he realised it was pretty bad and after several  stitches, he bandaged his foot and the neighbour took them home.

Upon seeing her son, Mother turned a bit pale, “Whatever....?” She didn’t say much more. She decided John had had enough punishment for his disobedience, but it cost him two weeks before he could put weight on his foot again. During those two weeks, he came to the conclusion that it pays to obey good advice.

– Article from ; Guide, June 11, 1969