When a sudden storm threatened his family's first campout, Jake Frost had to make the call to lead his family's Exodus.
Our family has entered the world of tent campers. But just barely. Our first foray into the world of sleeping bags and nylon enclosures was a stormy one—literally.
We opted for the backyard for our first night of sleeping under the stars—just in case.
Turned out to be a good call!
After work Friday afternoon we set about establishing our camp with great excitement and expectation. The weather forecast gave some room for concern, with a 40% chance of rain. But that still meant a 60% chance of no rain, right? So we pressed ahead.
Skies were still blue and sunshiny when we got the tent up and all the sleeping bags and pillows and other odds-and-ends of sleep accoutrements for five kids and two adults in place within the slightly musty confines of our canvas quarters for the evening.
Next up, we got a nice fire going with a circle of lawn chairs drawn up within a stick-span of the flames for ease of hot dog roasting. Birds were still chirping, the heavens still bright and smiling.
All seemed to be going great.
I got a tumbler of sun tea, complete with clinking ice cubes, and settled back into some folding furniture, ready to start the weekend.
The wind began to pick up.
“Those clouds blowing in look pretty dark,” my wife commented.
“Ah, they’ll blow over,” I said.
The wind ticked up a notch and the tent started flapping.
I put down my clinking cup of tea and went to make sure everything was battened down tight.
“Dad, it’s raining,” one of my daughters said.
“Just barely,” I said.
“Shouldn’t we go in?” she asked.
“Nah,” I said, “a gentle patter of rain on the tent roof will be nature’s own lullaby to lull us to sleep tonight.”
The next moment black clouds came roiling over us and everything got dark and shadowy.
The rain started pelting harder.
“Maybe we should go in!” my wife called over the rising wind. “It’s really starting to come down!”
“I think we’re good!” I yelled back. “At least there’s no thunder!”
“What?!?” she shouted, unable to hear me over the rising storm.
I cupped my hands to my mouth: “At least there’s no ...”
Everything shook in the reverberations of thunder all around us.
“We can wait it out!” I yelled. “As long as there’s no lighting!”
A sizzling bolt of electricity flashed through the sky.
And then it started hailing!
Ice chunks crashed down on us from a sky that minutes before had been sunny and blue.
I felt like I should be looking around for Charlton Heston or Yul Brynner to make an appearance.
It was a Moses moment, and I knew it was time to end our camping for the night.
“Team!” I yelled above the howling wind, “we have to get this tent packed up!”
That was the word everyone was waiting for, and the kids sprang into action with alacrity, carrying gear into the house and hauling on ropes and canvass like a crackerjack troop of salty, seasoned sea-tars.
If only I could get them to bring that kind of energy to cleaning their rooms!
In a few minutes, the job was done and we were all back in the house watching a storm rage outside.
And then another ten minutes after that the storm was gone and skies were blue and sunshiny once more!
I’m not even exaggerating.
I have five kids now. I’m way past exaggerating.
All I can say is: for whatever reason, we were not supposed to camp that night.
Maybe sometimes we just need to be reminded of Who’s in charge, and be prepared to alter our plans accordingly!
Copyright 2023 Jake Frost
About the Author
Jake Frost is a husband, father of five, attorney, and author of seven books, including the fantasy novel The Light of Caliburn (winner of an honorable mention from the Catholic Media Association), collections of humorous family stories ( Catholic Dad and Catholic Dad 2), poetry (most recently the award winning Wings Upon the Unseen Gust), and a children’s book he also illustrated, The Happy Jar.