For starters our plans of having Mick use her Honda minivan and for us to use our larger GMC van for this wonderful adventure went bust the day before we left. First, we thought it was a great idea to get the kids’ hair cut by my sister Becky out in BFE. Just as we got to about half a mile from her house, Crystal’s minivan breaks down. And, lucky me, without any smokes OR Snus.
It was a good half an hour drive out, I had missed a turn so we had to turn around a couple of times and stop and ask for directions, (women are not ashamed to do that you know.) the kids are complaining, my friend Crystal is distraught over her minivan breaking down right before we were to leave for camping, and me without nicotine… someone was going to die.
Luckily, about a block away was a garage who performed body work on cars. Not that it was much help to us as the body of the minivan was fine. It was the engine that stopped working. After a few minutes of trying to calm the children down and giving them a project, Crystal and I set about figuring out which of us was going to stay with the children while the other went for help.
In the back of my mind was “How far do I have to go to find some snus?” In Columbus, you can find Camel SNUS just about anywhere. As a matter of fact you can’t swing a dead cat and not hit a store that carries the stuff. But I wanted REAL Snus, not that fake, half baked idea of what RJR calls SNUS.
While debating the situation we had found ourselves in, the 4 year old comes around the back of the van doing the pee-pee dance and has that look in her eyes, “Mommy? I uh…” Crystal quickly takes her over the body shop where Saints be praised a sweet young man is working late and allows her to use the restroom, and his phone to call AAA.
During the wait for AAA we started to think of who was going to go with the tow truck driver, who was staying with the children and how we were going to get everyone home. In the back of my mind was where and how I was going to find some snus, fast.
After the tow truck driver arrived, about an hour and half later, we decided I would walk the children the 3 to 4 blocks to my sister’s house, for their hair cut and beg her for a ride home or call Mick to see if he could come pick us up. And there were no stores between me and my sister’s.
Luckily, after cutting the kids’ hair, Becky ran us back to Crystal’s where within a few minutes my blessed husband showed up with nicotine.
The next day another friend who we call, Papa G, came and took us to the Mohican Camp Grounds for the first trek, of our 10 days of camping. Of course there is no smoking in Papa G’s van so it was Swedish snus to the rescue.
I really couldn't smoke with all three children in the van in any case. I found out some states have considered or some counties in some states have passed laws against smoking with children in the vehicle. I know that smoking in an enclosed area is not the best but until I found Swedish snus, the only option was withdrawal. Nicotine cravings are hard enough to deal with. When all you hear from the back seat is, “She’s touching me!” “He’s on my side of the seat!” “I have to go pee!” and the all time favorite every parent deals with on a road trip, “ARE WE THERE YET?”, I become homicidal without my snus.
Once in the camp grounds, we quickly set up camp, and I sat back and lit up my first cigarette in days. Whilst we talked about what to do the next day, Crystal and I decided to go tubing down the Mohican river with the kids, I realized all the convenience of having Swedish Snus along. Although the river was slow and lazy, it would have been almost impossible to take smokes. Ah but my Swedish Snus on the other hand, fit neatly in a small water proof container, which I could attach to my swimsuit. No lighters needed.
While in Mohican we made several new friends, one of which was the maintenance man, who we will call Mark, who drove us up to the put in point. While driving up I noticed Mark used and was a long time user of Kodiak dip.
I asked him if he had ever heard of Swedish Snus. He said he had heard of Camel snus but never really thought of trying it. He said a friend had tried it and said it was horrible. I told him how what Camel called SNUS and what the Swedes called snus were as different as night and day. He said he had a break coming up later and would like to hear more about it.
Later that evening back in camp he stopped by and I gave him a can of Jakobsson’s Wintergreen that my husband had packed in my bags and we sat for several hours talking about the difference between Camel and Swedish Snus. I gave him the website for SnusCentral.org and told him to come check us out.
After four days and three nights at Mohican, I made several new friends in fellow campers and staff who I introduced to the joys of Swedish snus. A few that had or were using that RJR imitation are now on the road to using the good stuff; REAL snus from Sweden.
Without knowing I had been using and sharing my snus stash he had packed for me, Mick being the loving and thoughtful husband that he is, brought me a fresh supply of some of my favorite Swedish snus from our stash in the freezer for family church camp. It was a good thing because by the time he got there on Sunday late morning I had just used my last portion of General Mint.
A few hours later we drove into Family Church Camp. I was a happy camper as I slipped an extra portion of Catch Eucalyptus in the other side of my upper lip in anticipation of seeing the Church of Christ pastor and leader of Family Church camp. The last time I was in camp he reprimanded me for smoking. He pulled me aside, smiled, and said, “You know there is still no smoking in camp this year?”. With two portions of snus under my lip, I smiled back and asked, “Smoking? Who’s smoking?”. All the while, the nicotine from my Catch Eucalyptus portion snus slipped quietly into my system.
Unlike the last time I was in camp no one but Crystal and my best friend and my bible buddy, (who Crystal called my partner in crime) Margret knew I was using Swedish Snus.
Margret is a sweet older woman from Pennsylvania. She was a wild child in her youth. Some of the stories she would tell me in our private chats about her growing up would make Moe Unz look like an amateur. She knew I was using snus five minutes into our first sermon. We sat down front and she slipped me a note. “You have that stuff in your lip don’t you?”
I smiled back at her then showed it to her on my tongue. She smiled back at me and past me a second note. “Thought you gave all that up?” I wrote her back, “Nah I just found a better source. How did you know?” Then she smiled and wrote, “You’re not looking like a long tailed cat in a room full of rocking chairs.”
Normally a long winded sermon would have made me antsy, desperately waiting and counting down the time until I could get a smoke in, but for some reason I was fine. Sitting through the sermons was like sitting through a long winded professor’s lectures, which I have had years of experience, was nothing. With my partner in crime, Margret, by my side passing me notes, I smiled with my Snus in my lip.
Later everyone else who knew I had been a smoker took turns congratulating me on quitting smoking after the long sermon. With my snus in my lip, all I could do was smile and say thank you. I wasn’t about to tell them about my snus stash.
This year I was lucky enough to have a cabin to myself. It was nice and if I had wanted to smoke I am sure I could have in my cabin. But with my Swedish snus in my pocket and in my lip, why bother? I was the happiest camper in camp.
In the Wilderness for God and Snus
Reporting for SnusCENTRAL.org