Tabatha Deans

Bringing Integrity to the Written Word

The Great Outdoors

It’s been a long, eventful few days. My brother Tim and his son Mitchell, 11, drove out from denver to go camping with us at Flaming Gorge Reservoir. The first night we camped at Skull Valley campground, which was beautiful, quiet and uninhabited when we arrived. We found out why there were no other campers there when the wind picked up in the middle of the night, threatening to blow over tents and sending stuff in camp flying. Kathy and the boys slept in the truck, and Tim and Mitchell were forced to move their beds into their car during the night when the winds made it unbearable to sleep in their tent. I fared pretty well, since I was sleeping in my “crayola” tent. It’s a small tent that was made by Crayola for young kids. It’s short and compact so although i felt the wind, my tent isn’t tall enough to be blown over.

Touring Flaming Gorge Dam was on our agenda, which turned out to be not only informative, but also inspiring. I was looking through the local want-ads earlier in the week, and saw an ad for dam tour guides. When I first saw the ad I thought that would be a cool job, but figured I didn’t have the experience, or guts to do it. When we got to the dam for our tour there was another help wanted sign on the door of the visitor’s center, so i inquired within.  I filled out an application and they asked me to come in for an interview on Tuesday.

With the thought of working at the dam on my mind, we camped at Deer Run campground the second night, which is only a couple of miles away from the dam. It has running water, fresh toilets and showers, and no wind, so the second night of our camping trip was a little more pleasant than the first. AFter getting our camp set up, Kathy and  Dustin went back to Vernal, and left Alex to camp with us. The four of us walked down to the boat ramp, and as soon as I saw the clear water I had my usual thoughts of how nice it would be to jump in the water.

The old Tabatha would have stood on the dock and encouraged the boys to go swimming, while remaining safely at a distance, and maybe dipped my feet in the water. When what I’ve always really wanted to do was run to the end of the dock and jump out into the water. But when I saw the twinkle in Tim’s eye as he took his keys out of his pocket and set them on the bank with his hat, I didn’t give it a second thought. Tim ran and jumped off one dock, and I ran and jumped off the other. It felt wonderful to hit the cold water, and even more wonderful not to have spent five or ten minutes talking myself into doing it, or worse, not doing it and wishing I had.

We swam around the docks for a while and did tricks off the ramp, including the classic “Nestea Plunge”, before heading back to camp for a dinner of chili dogs and a spirited game of poker and BS. It was a long night in the tent because Mitchell was braving the wild by sleeping in his own tent for the first time ever, and Alex braved his emotions by sleeping in a tent, away from his mom, for the first time ever. When they both woke up in a panic, Tim assured them that it was three o’clock in the morning, and there were only two hours left to endure. Thinking I could stick it out for two hours, I stayed up with Alex and tried to help him feel better. After about three hours I realized Tim was lying to them, and that the sun wasn’t coming up anytime soon. Finally Alex went back to sleep and I caught a couple hours of shut eye. As soon as the sun peeked over the mountains, Mitchell and Alex began tearing down camp, and we were having breakfast at the lodge by 7 a.m.

Mitchell decided he wanted to stay for the week, so Tim left him with me and is coming to pick him up friday night. So, since then, I’ve been entertaining him and Alex, and although they are a little nerve-wracking, I’m pretty happy to realize that they both want to occupy my time.

The two boys, one from the country and one from the city, have made me think about what I can do with my writing talent to help the world. They don’t understand each other, and I’m not sure they really like each other. But their judgements of the other come from their different backgrounds. As we were frolicking in the water, they were just two boys playing in the water, and got along fine. But once removed, they reverted back to being judgmental and indifferent to each other. Alex thinks Mitchell is too much of a brainiac, and Mitchell thinks Alex is too much of a hick. I’m really hoping this week they spend together with me will help them realize that regardless of where they come from, they can find common interests and enjoy each other’s company.

Which is what made me realize that the most important thing I can do for society is to try to bridge the gap between the classes. I’ve spent my adult life in Salt Lake, and joined many there in poking fun at country fold for their minimalistic ways and laid back lifestyle. Being back here, the country folk spend their time criticizing city folks for their big mortgages, huge car payments and frivolous ways. Being from both worlds I have the luxury of understanding both sides, and knowing that a little bit of each is what has made me who I am.

So the rest of the week with the boys will be an experiment of sorts for me. If I can find common ways for them to have fun, my hope is that their prejudices, fears and apprehension will disappear, and maybe they’ll become friends.

July 30, 2008 - Posted by | Uncategorized

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