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Sometimes Home Really WAS Better. . .Or At Least Safer

June 16, 2015

Rodney, those holes in the dirt we saw earlier? 


They aren’t wasps. They are Hobo spiders. We just saw one about the size of a softball climb back into a hole.


I’m camping in the desert again. This time it’s with my two youngest sons. We are at Zions National Park. Well, we will be tomorrow. Tonight we are in a wide spot in the sagebrush. Ten boys, three leaders and thousands and thousands of bugs. The light I’m typing by attracks them, of course, but there are more than the moths and the termites. 

Remember your childhood? Do you have fond memories of the time before college and jobs and life intruded? Was it really a simpler time, or does memory soften the edges? Perhaps a little of both. 

I grew up in Olympia, WA. I went camping in the great Pacific Northwest. I got rained on. . .a lot. But, you know what Western Washington lacked? 

Poisonous spiders. We had Black Widows, but they really aren’t agressive or even highly toxic. They just look scary. 

We also lacked poisonous snakes. Garter snakes. That was it. We used to catch them and scare the girls with them. Okay, MAYBE I lost one under the refrigerator once, but that was hardly my fault. 

Bugs. We had mosquitoes. Lots of mosquitoes. But, that was really the extent of what we had to worry about. 

You know what Utah has?

Spiders: Hobos are kind of bad. But, the worst are the Brown Recluse. They can make your skin die and fall off. 

Snakes: mostly just your garden variety rattlesnakes. They love to sun themselves on rock ledges. If you are climbing, always look before you put your hand down. No, they do not always rattle before they strike. 

Scorpions: Sure, their sting is sort of like a wasp, but they are scorpions!

The internet used to be a far, far different place when I was younger. I’m didn’t actually have the internet when I was a kid. It came later, but it wasn’t as scary as today. It used to be that you could pretty much go anywhere without fear of catching a virus. You could click on any link without fear of losing your identity. You could engage in any discussion without worrying that you might be talking to a pedophile. 

It was simpler. It was safer. It was kind of like childhood.

Of course, there was no ecommerce to speak of. To look at a picture, you had to download multiple files at 1200 baud (That’s about a thousand times slower than your cable modem.) And after downloading the files you had to manually stich them back together. 

People didn’t share as many cat pictures. 

It was safer, but it wasn’t better. 

I have a job that allows me to be in Colorado rafting with my oldest boys one week and in Virgin, UT (yes, that’s actually the name of the town we’re nearest) camping with two other sons the following weekend. My dad never took me camping. I don’t fault him for that, but it just was something he didn’t do. My boys will grow up with countless memories of being in the desert with me, being in the river with me, hiking, camping, eating early morning oatmeal mixed with bits of sand. 

My childhood camping experiences were safer. But, this is better.  

Rodney M Bliss is an author, columnist and IT Consultant. His blog updates every weekday at 7:00 AM Mountain Time. He lives in Pleasant Grove, UT with his lovely wife, thirteen children and grandchildren. 

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