May 23, 2006
While you have been wandering around your apartment in your EPA dust abatement suit, I’ve been trying to catch up on my sleep. Last weekend we spent the night in a cement teepee, and I’m still having that Iron Eyes Cody feeling.
Here ya go: you’re looking at a member of the National Register of Historic Places, Wigwam Village #2 in Cave City, Kentucky. Not to be confused with Wigwam Village #6 in Holbrook, Arizona, nor with the other four Wigwam Villages that have gone the way of the great peace pipe smoke in the sky. I think it made the Register of Historic Places because it is a quaint reminder that in the olden days of the 1930s–when Highway 31 was the only way to get from Nashville to Chicago–people didn’t really care much what sort of bedroom they had as long as it had at least
four walls and a roof one wall and a peak.
Now, I realize that this doesn’t really count as “camping,” but our friends Skip and Betsy, who are the hardy sort who keep a cord of firewood in the back of the Suburban just in case there’s a chance for a campfire, thought it would be a good way to introduce us to life in the great outdoors. I’m pretty sure we were the wimpiest of the eleven families drafted for this weekend. People kept coming up to me and asking, “Are you guys OK? Is this going to be OK?” People handed me beers as if I didn’t understand what could be in the Igloo coolers which were lined up by the grill. I was given instructions in how to repurpose a wire hanger into a marshmallow skewer. In a hopeful moment, I was put in charge of Hershey bar distribution.
Twelve wigwams, twelve families. Minimum of two kids per family. Fifty humans in a dozen 12′-circumference wigwams, each with one hermetically sealed window a foot off the ground. Oh, it was camping all right. ROUGHING IT. The stories coming out of those wigwams were the sort of survival tales that you hear only on the Discovery Channel:
“When the power went off at midnight, and the fan died, I was haunted by the sound of my children breathing. They just . . . kept . . . breathing . . .”
“My Monsters Inc. sleeping bag covered only a third of my body. If I didn’t keep moving it around, I might have gotten . . . really chilly.”
“As I lay in the bed, I planned the next thirty years of my life.”
“Is this what Das Boot was like?”
“I wondered whether I could have been breathing recirculated air.”
“Soft bed make man soft.”
Jon Krakauer will be writing a book about this trip: Into Thick Air.
I Know You’re Wondering
How did you get any knitting done in such harsh conditions? Between the guacamole making and the sitting in the fold-up chairs and the beverages and the grilled meats and the random flying balls from the kickball game, it was not easy. I squoze a few rows onto what I’m proud to call My Third Sock:
Yes, that’s the Fleece Artist Merino yarn that came from that Canadian person. It’s knitting up thicker than the Trekking XXL, for those of you keeping a spreadsheet of sock yarn data. I’m using my very favorite sock pattern (oh right, it’s the only sock pattern I know), the Simple Sock from Cat Bordhi’s Socks Soar on Two Circulars.
This is what I call the Interesting Part. I pretty much almost didn’t fix dinner last night because I had arrived at the Interesting Part. It’s such a bit of architecture, making a tube of knitting turn a corner and still be a tube. That fits a foot. Which has a heel poking out.
When we got home from our wigwam weekend, Betsy said we were good sports. I think we’re ready for their annual two-week trip to Minnesota in the cabin with no running water or electricity. Piece of CAKE.