Look—I’m all in when it comes to saving the environment: I keep cloth bags in the car and use them every time I shop, I keep my showers to two minutes, I don’t run the dishwasher until it’s full, I car pool whenever possible, turn off the lights and unplug electronics when I leave the room—all of that. I do it because I care about doing my part to respect and protect this planet—our planet.
And because my sister-in-law/BFF/resident family environmentalist Angelou, a frequent star of this blog, threatens me.
Okay, okay—maybe I’m exaggerating (a little). She doesn’t exactly threaten fam into environmental submission. But girlfriend can toss a mean side-eye, er… I mean she can be quite persuasive when it comes to going hard for Team Green. She’s got good reason: In addition to being passionate about the environment, she’s the founder and executive director of her own foundation, created to teach children how to be stewards of the earth. Her program, Greening Youth Foundation, goes directly into public schools, where her instructors both teach third graders all the ways they can help save our planet and rally fourth and fifth graders to set up and run the school’s recycling program.
I stan hard for GYF, especially for all the good it’s doing with the babies—enough, even, for me to be on the foundation’s board. You know I’m always down to do whatever for the kids.
Anything, that is, except what my sister-in-law has in mind for an upcoming “family trip.”
Get this: Angelou, my girl Jenny, and their husbands James and Anthony were standing in my driveway this past weekend, watching their kids and mine dive belly first onto the Slip ‘N Slide at my Lila’s 7th birthday party, when the four of them announced that their families and mine were going… camping.
In the woods.
With no running water or electricity.
Just camp fires, tents, open air and God's land.
Now you know I love God’s land. But er, um, yeah… Denene doesn’t do the outdoors. My house sits on just over an acre, and I don’t go past the deck. There’s bugs out there. And little animals. And slithery things. Mosquitoes and no-sees that love all this dark chocolate. I’m quite content to sit in the kitchen next to the big picture window and watch my kids swing on their swing set and jump on the trampoline and kick around the soccer ball, and fix their dinner on a stove, then run their baths in a bath tub, and then tuck them in their beds before I slip into my own super comfortable, super-sized bed.
Roughing it in the great outdoors ain’t exactly my idea of a good doggone time, let’s just go on ahead and put that on out there. (I know my girl Rue at Outdoor Afro, who’s beautiful blog actively encourages black folk to embrace nature, wants to reach through her computer screen and just shake me right about now—sorry girl!) I don’t want to sleep on the ground. I don’t want to catch fish, gut them, and cook them on an open fire. I don’t want to sing campground songs. Or go canoing. Or sleep in complete darkness where the wild things are. How will I blog and facebook and twitter, dammit?
But Angelou and Jenny got all gangsta on me: They whipped out their cute little Blackberries and scheduled the trip right in my face, and then, get this, announced it to my kids. And now their little behinds are all excited about sleeping in tents and living off the land and whatnot, and won't stop begging me to just go on ahead and say "yes" already. And James sealed the deal by cold calling my husband and plotting and planning and scheduling with him, despite my insistence that I didn’t want any parts of anybody’s camping trip. And no matter how many times I say, "Y'all can go on ahead and go camping—I'll be at the spa," they just talk over me and stuff, like no matter what I say, this trip is a go.
And so yeah… I guess I’m going camping, y’all.