Oh, Wilderness!

By Jeffery Cohen

Because I played a little tennis, fished once in a while and barbecued in the park, my wife had me pegged as the outdoors type. As a city girl, she thought anyone who mowed their own lawn was an adventure seeker.

For our first vacation, I proposed a little camping trip at a nice family campground with hot and cold showers, flush toilets and a convenient general store. My in-laws acted as though I were dragging their daughter off to the deepest jungle in the Amazon.

“There’ll be animals out in the woods,” her father warned. “Rabbits!”

“And squirrels,” her mother whimpered tearfully.

I was hoping they hadn’t gotten wind of the dreaded chipmunks.

“I’ll be fine,” my wife reassured her folks. “Remember, I was born and raised in the city. I know how to take care of myself.”

The next day we drove out to the country. My wife insisted that she carry all of our money. In case a ferocious raccoon dragged me off into the forest, she wanted to be sure she had cab fare home.

We found a secluded spot, pitched a tent and unrolled our sleeping bags. I suggested we rent a couple of bikes and ride the wilderness trails.

“Bicycles?” my wife asked with raised eyebrows.

“You do know how to ride, don’t you?” I questioned.

“Oh sure. I used to ride in the park all the time. Let’s do it.”

So we picked up a couple of ten speeds. A block from the rental shop, my wife began to swerve and shake, fighting to keep her balance.

“You did say you’ve ridden before, right?” I asked.

“I have. But the bike I rode was different.”

“Did it have three wheels?” I asked.

“No, two wheels. But it was a lot smaller. And it had a picture of Barbie on the side.”

By the time we reached the trails, my wife had run into several trees, a picket fence and two parked cars. That was just the beginning. Each time we approached a hill she hopped off and walked her bike up, complaining that she didn’t have enough strength for the climb. Once she reached the top, she looked down and decided it was too scary to coast, so she walked the bicycle down. When she finally did start to actually ride, she ran into a boulder and snapped her bike’s chain.

I traded with her, using the crippled bicycle as a scooter. She still fell so far behind, that I had to go back after her. I searched for more than an hour with no luck. I was frantic, and decided to head back and have someone from the campgrounds call the park rangers for help. As I reached the campsite, I spied my wife sitting at a picnic table where she was nibbling on a salami sandwich.

“Where did you go?” I gasped.

“After you tried to ditch me, I had to find my own way out.”

“Ditch you? I was worried sick. I thought you got lost!”

She shrugged.

“As long as you’re okay,” I sighed.

“Two guys in brown suits were following me. I thought they were going to rob me. I was really afraid…so I hid our money.”

“Brown suits? With straight brimmed hats?” I asked.

“Were they following you too?”

“Honey, they were park rangers. Well, you’re safe now. You can un-hide the money.”

“I can’t. I buried it.”

“You what?”

“I buried it under a tree, but don’t worry. I know which tree.”

I breathed a deep sigh of relief as my wife led me down a worn path to a clearing where a huge oak stood.

“That’s the tree,” she smiled with satisfaction.

I dropped to my knees and began clawing the black earth with my fingers. After five minutes I had dug down almost a foot.

That’s when I heard her say, “Or was it that tree?”

I dug a dozen holes before it began to get dark. It was then that my wife and I came to the same two conclusions.

One, we would never see our money again.

And two, city girls may be loaded with street smarts, but they can’t see the forest for the trees.

About this writer

  • Jeffery Cohen Freelance writer and newspaper humor columnist, Jeffery Cohen, has written for Sasee, Lifetime and Read, Learn, Write. He’s won awards in Women-On-Writing Contest, Vocabula’s Well Written Contest, National League of American Pen Womens’ Competition, Southern California Genealogy Competition, and Writer’s Weekly writing contest.

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2 Responses to “Oh, Wilderness!”

  1. I grew up on a farm with “city slicker” cousins who were afraid of the rooster next door. Very, very funny story!

  2. Kathy Smith says:

    Funny story. Thanks for sharing.

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