A campground, Igoumenitsa, Greece

 Monday, October 22, 1973

Tiptoeing in the rain.

Not the same cachet as “dancing in the rain” but still, it strikes a romantic note. And, doing it in the nude, at two in the morning, well, that indicates a free spirit. That’s me–sort of.

I was in the rain and I was naked. For some reason the word “naked” doesn’t convey the same sophistication as “nude”. You know what they say about “clothes make the man” but since I was clothes-free there was no way I could pass myself off as sophisticated.

At least I wasn’t stark naked. I wore a pair of shoes; albeit shoes that weren’t mine. They were a woman’s size 6–I take a size 9 ½ – that’s a men’s size 9 ½ mind you. Anyway, it made me self-conscious. For one thing, I had too many toes for the size of the shoe and it forced me to prance–not my usual stride.

Our honeymoon, a Grand Tour through France, Spain, Italy and Greece, was coming to an end and we were camping on the periphery of the port city, Igoumenitsa, intending to catch the car ferry to Brindisi, Italy the next morning.

The campground was not remarkable except for the hordes of birds roosting overhead. A fellow camper told us the birds were on their annual migration to Africa. All fascinating to an ornithologist but while the cacophony of the squawking, screeching, creatures might keep us awake at night it was the vision of guano everywhere, particularly on our orange pup tent, that occupied my thoughts.

We purchased the tent for $21 from the Army & Navy Store in Winnipeg just before leaving on our trip. It wasn’t much but it was our home and who knows how it would stand up to the bird barrage. With nowhere else to go we resorted to draping the tent with a plastic sheet and used stones to secure the cover.

Trouble arose, as it’s so often inclined, at two in the morning. A flapping, slapping, sound woke us. Rising winds accompanied by rain had blown the sheet leaving only one stone to prevent its complete desertion.

With our marriage only 44 days old we were still sorting out who did what but many of our duties were starting to adhere along traditional gender lines.

“Dear, you need to fix the plastic.”

With that flat pronouncement, Lynn alerted me to the reality that leaving the shelter of our tent, going out into the rain, in the middle of the night, to secure a plastic sheet, fell firmly on the male side of the line.

Our tent was small. The Army & Navy Store billed it as a two-person tent but that bit of puffery was overly optimistic even if the two people happened to be newly-weds. Now in a small tent, while one expects everything to be handy, my eyeglasses were not cooperating and I was blind without them. Maybe that’s why I couldn’t locate my shoes; shoes to keep me from returning to our sleeping bag with muddy feet. Lynn’s were all I could unearth.

Mincing around in Lynn’s shoes, blindly peering into the darkness, I secured the sheet and returned to the front of the tent whereupon I was exposed in my full wilting glory by the full glare of a vehicle’s headlights as it made its nocturnal rounds in the campground.

Now, when having their picture taken, many people have sides or angles they prefer to be viewed from. Given that the cool rain pelting down had a shrivelling effect, this perspective wasn’t my first choice. It was a variation of “a deer caught in the headlights”.

One expects a liberal attitude to nudity in Europe but we were in Greece under a military regime. We had been cautioned with tales of tourists on the beaches being arrested in strict enforcement of the anti-nudity laws. Not wanting to cause an international incident, we broke camp before daylight and headed for the ferry dock with a car bedecked in bird droppings but with one clean tent.

One comment on “A Dear In the Headlights

  • As I retire for the evening and reading your last post I am left with a searing burning sensation of my retinas. Perhaps being more forceful with your new bride would of resulted in a less disturbing image.
    Hope you are well.

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