Roughin’ it with Gauge

Published 5:56 am Wednesday, May 3, 2017

“Hey Gauge. I have an idea. Why don’t we camp out at the new rent house? We will be the first ones ever to spend the night there. We can build a campfire and everything!”

“That’s a great idea, Gigi! Can we make s’mores? And what about roasting some hot dogs?”

We excitedly chattered away, making big plans for our Friday night adventure. The look of delight on my little grandson’s face filled my heart, but in the back of my mind I had one small nagging doubt, “Hmmm… It’s been a while since I’ve slept on an air mattress. That may not be the most comfortable thing.” Pushing that concern to the back of my mind, we rushed full speed ahead.

“Let’s see, Gauge. We need to check with your Mom and Dad to make sure it’s OK with them. They could already have something going on this weekend.”

Soon we had the green light, and I wondered if I had spoken without really thinking things through. The hubby was rolling around the country somewhere in his big rig, so all the details would be left to me. I’ve camped out many a time, but I’ve always had someone around to help out. This time it would be a 6-year-old and me.

“That house is in the woods, practically. It’s gonna be super dark out there. What was Robby thinking letting me take his son on a camping trip with no adult supervision? Oh yea, I am an adult. Get a grip, girl! You can do this,” I laughed to myself.

The days passed quickly, and soon Friday rolled around. My first thought upon awakening was “camp out day.” Fortunately for me, my grandson had agreed that camping in the empty house would be far superior to a tent in the yard. At least we wouldn’t have to worry about potty breaks, and critters.

My son graciously blew up the air mattress for us so I didn’t have that little detail to worry about. At 5 o’clock sharp we met at the empty house. My car was loaded with everything I thought we might need for a fun filled evening. I did forget one very important thing … toilet paper! Thankfully, my son brought some just in case.

We were getting hungry, and the fire started right up with the help of a store bought log. Grandma and grandson ran around the yard picking up sticks and placing them on the dancing flames. Before long Gauge said, “Gigi, look how big the fire is! We did a good job.”

Nothing tastes quite as good as food cooked out in the open air. We told stories until the stars began to twinkle in the evening sky and mosquitoes buzzed around our heads, looking for a place to nibble.

They chased us indoors, and the empty house echoed with laughter as we played crazy eights well into the night. Gauge’s sleepy eyes reminded me morning would come early. We bowed our heads for bedtime prayers, and Gauge’s little boy voice rang strong and true. I silently added my own prayer of thanks for grandsons and air mattresses as a smiling Gigi and tired little boy drifted off to sleep.

Jan Penton Miller can be reached at