G. SAM PIATT
PDT Outdoors Writer
Tent camping can be a rewarding vacation, unless…there comes a visit by a summer storm, like the one that hit southern Ohio and northeastern Kentucky Friday evening. One report over a local TV station said winds gusted up to 90 mph.
I had a limb down on the maple tree out front which partially blocked the street. A huge limb, partly rotted, left a hole in the ground when it came crashing down from the tulip poplar in the back yard.
I managed to escape roof damage, although I noticed one of my neighbors had a section of shingles uprooted.
I haven’t had any reports of damage from area campgrounds, although I can imagine, being as it hit when the evening meal was being prepared, that things got kind of exciting.
I recall a time from a few summer ago when I looked down from the huge window of our rented hillside cabin in the trees to a shaded campground on the shore of Dale Hollow Lake, where a group of campers had pitched four small tents earlier in the day.
Out over the hills to the west, and over the lake, I saw the summer storm approaching. Treetops in the campground were already dancing with the force of the incoming wind.
I was reminded of the days when my family was young and we enjoyed tent-camping trips to the shores of many of the lakes in Kentucky and Tennessee.
Once, at Kentucky Lake, the campground proprietor told us as we pulled in that it hadn’t rained in that parched country for a month.
“Get ready for a gully-washer,” I said. “We never pitch this tent without it rains.”
Sure enough, just as I finished setting up the tent, the rain came down, forcing my wife and me and our three kids to take shelter inside under the canvas, gear piled around us.
Tent camping can get miserable when it pours.
Now, that’s what the young campers I watched from my cabin were about to face. The last of the fishing boats that had been out on the lake had scurried for shelter under the covered slips at the dock when the wind-driven rain came down in sheets.
With my air conditioning, satellite TV, spacious kitchen and comfortable beds, I felt a little guilty, high and dry inside the cabin, while the water ran down the hill in rivulets and surged under the tents.
Oh, well, they were young – young enough to take whatever misery the storm could wallop them with and crawl out the next day laughing about it.
LIFE OF EASE?
The Katzanjammer Kids, Hans and Fritz, who live with the Captain and other relatives on what appears in the comic pages to be a South Seas island paradise, when they aren’t playing pranks on someone or swiping Momma’s hot apple pies from the window sill, just loll around or fish or engage in other forms of utter relaxation, or so it seems.
In real life, the life of paradise – those perpetual days of vacation – is something we seek, but never quite achieve.
An Ashland woman once told me she and her father used to fish Cave Run Lake years ago and every time they saw that cabin on top of the cliff overlooking the lake, they wished they owned it. Then the family could come out there and stay and relax and fish and swim and enjoy life.
The wound up buying the cabin, but then discovered that the time they found to spend there was mostly taken up by grass-cutting, painting and a never ending list of maintenance chores.
We buy us a little cabin on a lake or stream – a little paradise, we think – tie the hammock up between two shade trees, get an armload of good books we want to read, and think we’ll spend the summer doing absolutely nothing.
Pretty soon, though, we find out its almost as if its not us who owns the cabin, but the cabin which owns us.
My idea of the summer vacation spent at doing absolutely nothing involves saving my money throughout the year and renting a condo on Myrtle Beach. For seven days I disassociate myself from manual labor, except for a dip in the ocean, driving down to the nearest marina to charter a fishing trip, or plopping my elbows down on the table at the seafood buffet.
STORY OF THE STRIP
The Katzenjammer Kids is an American comic strip but a German creation. The strip was drawn by Harold Knerr, but its creator was Rudolph Dirks, a German immigrant.
It first appeared in December 1897 in the “American Humorist,” the Sunday supplement to William Randolph Hearst’s New York Journal.
Knerr drew the strip form 1912 to 1949.
Some kind of legal battle over the strip developed between Hearst and Dirks, who left the Hearst organization.
He began a new strip, still drawn by Knerr, titled Hans and Fritz.
Later the strip was called The Captain and the Kids, which featured the same characters and was still drawn by Knerr.
The latter version competed with the original The Katzenhammer Kids until 1979, when The Captain and the Kids ended its 60-year run.
But The Katzenhammer Kids is still distributed today by King Features, making it the oldest comic strip in syndication – running now for 100 years.
PARTING SHOT – Long ago, when men cursed and beat the ground with sticks, it was called witchcraft.
Today it’s called golf.
G. SAM PIATT can be reached at (606) 932-3619 or Gsamwriter@aol.com.