We recently acquired a tent large enough to park a camper in.

When you sleep outside, the sounds are frightening. This, I reminded my daughters, is nothing to be scared of, it's just part of the fun of camping.

Sure, we were only sleeping in the backyard, but I wanted them to be prepared.

"What if monsters come?" my 4-year-old inquired. I assured her they would be scared off by my snoring long before they could get to her.

She looked at me hard. Humor was not necessary in this situation.

"There are no monsters," I said.

We recently acquired a tent large enough to park a camper in. The day it came home, our daughters wanted to try it out that night in the backyard. 

I love camping, though maybe not all parts of it. Waking up in the cold morning is a blast in the face. And I never have met an inflatable mattress I couldn't deflate just by laying on it.

Also, I never have been a fan of putting up a tent. Even if you have just the right amount of grace, there's no way to look cool trying straighten out the poles with the rubber bands in them.

But this new tent, I was led to believe, is the latest in tent engineering. It was designed to go up quickly with ease.

In my head, I assumed you just chucked a pile of fabric into the yard and, presto, a fully constructed tent would expand and land on the grass, and a butler would come out and asked if anyone would like a beverage.

This was not that tent. To be fair, that tent probably doesn't exist. It was as difficult to put up as any tent that has ever been to erected. But we figured it out. It took two tries after the first attempt left us with something that looked like it was designed by Picasso. On the second try, after some grumbling, we figured out which poles went where.

"It's all part of the fun of camping, right Dad?" my 7-year-old said with a sly smile.

We sat around a fire and ate s'mores. When we snuggled up in the tent, my little one started to cry, worried the monsters would get her. My wife and I reassured her that all would be fine. She fell asleep in minutes.

"Do you hear the ocean?" I asked in the darkness, talking about the highway traffic in the distance.

I explained, when I was a kid, I would crack my window open and fall asleep to that sound, dreaming of an endless ocean.

We could hear the bugs buzzing and small animals moving around. At one point a dog barked loudly and somebody yelled.

And then, all at once, everyone stopped talking.

At some point I woke up and my back was touching the ground. The inflatable mattress I was sharing with my 4-year-old was losing air. When I turned the lay on my side, it caused my little one to roll right on top of me. Of course, she didn't wake up.

So I held her close and listened to her breath.

And I fell asleep.

Reach Dave at 330-580-8490 or david.manley@cantonrep.com

On Twitter: @DaveManley