Trip to Bartlesville

Part 1 - Tent of Horror

Even as our topic shifts to the land holdings of one Jack Shinn, resident of the outskirts of Bartlesville, Oklahoma and a noteworthy outing at that spot one year during my time in college, we will refrain from touching upon the subject of Fred the Deceived Dog. For if that topic were delved into, one might think one were reading Tolstoy, so many pages would that subversive canine's hijinks require. Instead, we will limit our subject to a specific incident that occurred on that most colorful adventure, perhaps including others in future narratives.

A camp out, next to a full-contact football game in the mud, is perhaps one of the most manly exercises an unruly group of college boys may undergo. Thus a large number of young men affiliated with the Baptist Student Union at the University of Oklahoma, perhaps fifty in all, found themselves one day at the infamous Shinn spread, sleeping bags in hand and Fred the Deceived Dog underfoot. But we will refrain from speaking of Fred. Tents were established along a ridge, forming a sort of colony with Main street of Shinnville running along side. We were the men of the Discipleship Team, if memory remains sufficiently intact, and, being divided into sub teams for the dual purposes of close knitness with our brothers and extreme remoteness from our sisters, our tents reflected this trend. Each team had their own tent, in other words, and ours was team something or the other with Scott Smith at the helm. I believe we were known as the scarf team because we all had matching scarves that my grandma had made. It is certain that this further distanced us from the female groups.

As night fell and Team Scarf sat around in our gloomy tent, an idea, possibly a master stroke, occurred to our most honored and fearless leader. Scott Smith, not unlike Kevin Shinn, hailed from Bartlesville which lay a few mere miles down the dirt road from our campsite. It was his vision for us to sneak out of camp and spend the night at his mother's house, unbeknownst to the rest of the group. Being such manly men that carpet floors were the same to us as grassy earth - "It's all one to me," you might have overheard one of us say - we considered the plan sound and went for it. I seem to remember some food thrown into the deal at the Smith household even.

The extent of the plan was to sneak back into camp early the next morning, so that if we were spotted by any camp-bound team members, we could lead them to believe that we had been out for the purpose of having early morning devotions. The plan was so successful that we never even had to give anyone that line. They assumed it.

But where does the horror angle come into this plot, you may be asking. Well, the time has come to reveal all. Upon reaching our tent, the flap was thrown back, and it could be plainly observed that a fresh congregation of grass spiders had taken up residence in our humble abode. There was one grass spider, presumably the matriarch, about the size of a small plate of nachos. The others, numbering in the thousands, appeared to be the offspring to the fifth generation, and varied in size from dime to silver dollar. We all stood frozen with terror while watching the floor of our tent crawling with eight-legged creatures. And it was with renewed faith that we contemplated the divine intervention on the night before.

As stated before, the trip was filled with many notably adventures, many directly related to the aforementioned Sultan of Slobber, Fred the Deceived Dog, whom shall remain nameless hereafter. It really must all be reported at some point in the future. But back to this portion of the show, the one thing that must not go unrelated is that for months after this occurrence, no member of Team Scarf ever leaked a word about what had really happened.

© 2015 Dane Tate