ripping the tent

When I was a kid, weekends were a time for family. Every Saturday morning during summer vacation my parents had something planned for the family.

Saturday mornings were a time where we all got together to pack for the weekend. We didn’t travel to anywhere special, mostly to a river or maybe to a park.

We had this old canvas tent that my parents bought from Simpson Sears. The top was green and the sides were yellow. The poles weighed a ton, and the tent took forever to set up. Still, this was our weekend get-away. Dad called the tent our home away from home.

I remember once, I was playing with Dad’s pocket knife and I accidentally poked a hole in the side of the tent. I was horrified. I had ruined our summer. If Dad found out, he would be so disappointed. Dad never hit us as kids. He would just look disappointed, and for me that was worse than a trimming.

I remember that day as if it was yesterday. The tent was setup in the backyard so that my brother and I could ‘camp’ overnight, instead of sleeping in our beds. Dad had worked hard to make everything special, he had put our giant foam mattress in the tent, covered it with one of mom’s spare sheets, and put our sleeping bags in there as well. He even had our favourite comic books stacked near the bed for us. He really spoiled us.

While Dad was downtown, I went to the shed and found what I was looking for. A tube of Krazy Glue. This was the stuff the guy in the commercial used to glue his helmet to the steel beam, which held him up. That must have been some tight helmet.


Making sure I had the tent fixed before Dad got home was important to me. I didn’t want his oldest son known for ruining summer, so I quickly opened the glue (never read instructions, who does that?), and proceeded to apply glue to the tent. I ran the stuff in a thick bead around the rip, and held it there with my finger until the glue had set.

Just then I seen my dad’s car pull into the driveway. In an effort to clear the scene and look innocent, I pulled my finger from the rip and …..well Tried to pull my finger from the rip. The glue stuck my finger to the tent. I almost pulled the tent down trying to get away, to no avail. Plus it hurt like hell.

I still remember dad coming over and asking me why I was pointing to the tent. He laughed when he realized that I wasn’t pointing to the tent, I was stuck to the tent. That stuff really held. Dad helped me get my finger free, but I think the remains of my skin stayed on that tent for many years to come.

I feel fortunate to have memories like this to tell my son. He gets a chuckle out of my stories, and sometimes he asks me how I survived.


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