Here she is, in living color:
Who, you say? Who always wears a floppy fisherman's hat, crazy yellow sunglasses, and Reebok's only because she got mad when she found out New Balance was made in China now?
We camped at her favorite spot. Her parents used to 'vacation' in this area a long time ago. They had relatives that owned a lodge or something, and would sneak away from the kids and farm long enough to recharge in the mountains.
I need a relative with a lodge, lemme tell ya.
In any case, she's still 'got it.' The first night up there was (dis)organized chaos, what with the backpackers sorting their gear, setting up tents and packing away others. The girls and I were blessed to 'borrow' an already-set-up tent (and bed!) from some friends who were only up there for a day. My brother asked, "Where you gonna sleep, Gram?" "Oh, right over there," she replied, gesturing behind her. "I already picked out my spot." He leaned over to see where she meant, as many of us did, but was perplexed to see nothing but the shallow gully behind our campsite.
Oh, indeed. The shallow gully is where she meant.
What do you mean a gully isn't a good place for a tent? Who said anything about a tent? Gigi is quite obviously no typical 81 1/2 year old (as though you hadn't noticed) and she flat refused to take anyone's offered tent, or even to have an unused one set up for her.
And by sundown, she and her sleeping bag and her floppy fisherman's hat were snuggled down in the gully, amidst no few concerned whispers on our part.
"What is she thinking? It gets COLD up here. It'll be in the 30's by morning."
"I know, and what's with the gully? Flash flood, anyone?
"Donna saw wolf scat up the way a couple weeks back. Not that a tent would stop those, but still, should we be setting out a buffet?"
I set my timer for far fewer hours than I would have liked, in order to whip up a hearty breakfast for the supposedly intrepid adventurers. They all slept in tents, though. After stretching my own creaky joints (it was an airbed you know, not my typical memory-foam mattress) and hobbling to upright (the airbed was on the floor. Not an easy dismount) in the still-darkness (4:30 anyone?), I noticed something was still in the gully. Not that I expected it to be anywhere else, but it had been cold (yes, even with my husband to snuggle with and a down comforter... What? Don't look at me that way.), and I was worried. Since I haven't aspired to "intrepid adventurer" status, I asked Hubby if he would go check her. Hold a mirror under her nose. Check for a pulse. Something. He was busy getting dressed and taking care of last-minute pack-adjustments, and took his time. I questioned myself, asking how stupid I must really be. What will we do if she's dead? What will people think of us, letting our old granny freeze to death in the mountains three steps away from us? How long will it take the coroner to get up here? Might we be brought up on charges? I don't want to go to jail! What will happen to my kids? I didn't mean to let her die! Thankfully, before I had the chance to drive off and turn myself in, she was up and around, with fewer creaks and less hobbling than I had done.She did commandeer an abandoned tent for a night or two while the packers were gone, but made up for it by dragging half-burned firewood to our camp from empty campsites, busting branches off a downed-but-only-half-dry tree and playing the harmonica so my girls could dance on the tabletop of the campsite next to ours. She hauled water and built fires and kept the dishes clean as I cooked. She rocked and sang to Organique, and kept after the horseflies with a fly swatter. She moved the playpen whenever the shade moved, and packed the whole deal, bedding/mattress and all, into my tent at twilight.
And reports that it was among the more enjoyable outings of her life.