Dysfunctional Family Kampground

What are tenterhooks? Why would readers want to be on them? Do they have something to do with camping in a wind storm? Is there any other way to camp? Not in my personal experience.

Somewhere in the mystery/thriller book reviews my eyes glazed over and my head settled softly in the centerfold of the Kirkus on the table. I dreamed a little backpacking dream about a survival cult of chirping marmots instead of those evil black-lit squirrels. Bigger mammals, still crazy.

No camping! Nooooo!

No, tenterhook is a woolly word of ancient origin involving stretching, maintaining shape, and the tension between the two. Now consider the hand-washing of a wool sweater, possibly that white lambswool sweater your mom bought for you because it was on sale even though she knew wool made you itch. Feel the tension? You could lay the sweater flat on a big piece of paper and trace a crime scene outline before washing the sweater. After rolling the soggy sweater in towels to squeeze out some of the water, you could arrange it back on the paper and make sure it is properly shaped to dry slowly. Or you could throw the darn thing in the dryer.

Oops.  Sweaters are best dried on that mesh contraption that looks like a Barbie party trampoline, except that there never was a good place to store it so you gave it to Goodwill the last time it fell down on your head from the closet shelf. Actually, the lambswool sweater wasn't quite as itchy as the aqua mohair cable knit cardigan your mom bought for you because it was on sale when she didn't yet know that wool made you itch.

Gratitude. A hearty breakfast that doesn't involve freeze-dried and dehydrated backpacking food. A good night's sleep with no tent to blow away. I'm hooked.

Woolite noir crime scene

© 2013 Nancy L. Ruder

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