As we neared the end of our lengthy camping set-up process Tuesday afternoon, we came across an obstacle that seemed nearly insurmountable.

We have a canopy we use to shelter our picnic table. It is supported by metal legs, which come in about a half-dozen numbered pieces.

It also used to have instructions, which explained which pieces go together. Our problem? The instructions were gone.

The last time we used the canopy, the instructions were there. Since then, it had been borrowed by an unnamed person *coughmrscrappysauntahem* and returned, apparently, without that rather important piece of paper.

As we sat on the tailgate of the Element, staring at a pile of white metal poles, Mrs. Crappy had a stroke of genius: Fred and Ethel have the same canopy, and they might have their instructions.

We called Columbus and caught Fred, just as he was leaving his house. He said he’d check their canopy; after listening to two minutes of crashing in the background, he said he had found what we needed.

His instructions worked perfectly, and our picnic table has the cover it needs, as you can see. So — a big thank you goes out to Fred, who single-handedly saved our vacation.


  1. You should see this piece of paper with the instructions on it. Wrinkly, torn, faded. But in its proper place, I guess. Or it was. Now it’s on the dining room table, and it looks like a piece of trash, so Fred better put it back where he found it or I might accidentally throw it away!


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