Back in the olden days, when our kids were little, we camped at Lake Texoma frequently. Our favorite area was Burns Run. Nowadays, that area is for day use only, and strictly monitored. Back then, it was pretty much a free-for-all, no specific camp spots marked out, just set up camp wherever.
One Easter weekend, along with about 15 other families of our relatives and friends, we set up camp in a big circle, so that we had a common area for cooking, visiting, and playing games. All around us were other family groups, and, as the weekend went on, large numbers of college age kids, many of whom were engaging in somewhat (ahem) questionable behavior.
By Sunday afternoon, every possible spot was occupied, and the area between our camp site and the water was a solid mass of scantily clad young adults, drinking, shouting, and generally disrupting the quiet of our trip.
Not that we were exactly silent.
We had a bunch of little kids, mostly cousins who were as close as siblings, running around with water guns shooting at each other and everyone else.
A bunch of women, mostly mamas and grandmas, chattering, laughing, and yelling at the kids with the water guns.
A gang of guys, brothers, cousins, friends, talking in their deep voices, playing horseshoes, and generally filling in any quiet moments with their laughter.
Suddenly in the middle of the horseshoe game, a guy with no shirt, long tangled hair, and a handcuff dangling from his wrist, burst into the middle of the horseshoe pitch, begging for someone to hide him.
As he ran through our campsite, we saw uniformed men pursuing him, headed for our campsite.
Suddenly our guys were yelling at us to pack up, throw everything into any available pickup, because we were going home now.
I started throwing our stuff into the pickup, but at the same time, questioning Wick as to what was going on.
He pointed down the slope toward the water, and said, "Those kids are trying to turn over a patrol car, because the officers were trying to arrest that guy that just ran through here with handcuffs on him."
I had hold of Jeana, and handed her to her nanaw as I jumped up onto the bumper of the truck to look for Scott.
I called out, "Has anyone seen Scott and Clint (his cousin)?"
No one knew where they were, except to say "They were right here just a minute ago."
Swiftly my eyes scanned our campsite, but I couldn't see either of the boys.
Suddenly Wick gestured down the slope, as he yelled the boys' names.
I turned, and caught sight of a white-blond shock of hair bobbing around in the middle of the developing riot.
Wick raced down the hill to grab the boys, tucking one under each arm, and hauling them back up the hill.
By this time, we were all packed, and forming up a caravan to leave the camp area.
Unfortunately we were not the only ones trying to escape trouble. We found ourselves in the middle of a huge traffic jam on a narrow winding road out of the park area.
We spent more than an hour idling our engines, walking back and forth from one vehicle to another, trying to gather more information, and wondering why it was taking so long to get out of the area.
Finally, we found out.
The highway patrol had barricaded the road, and set up a check point. They were searching each car and truck, looking for the young man with the handcuffs.
It was like a train wreck--nobody wanted to be there, nobody really wanted to be involved, and yet there we were, captive observers. As we crept slowly toward the check point, suddenly there was a disturbance. People yelling. Running.
And highway patrolmen with handguns and shotguns drawn.
Not exactly the ending we had hoped for our pleasant family camp out.
But material for a family story we have laughed about for over thirty years, the time we went camping, and it was a real riot.