Sunday, August 2, 2009

Pleasant Acres

As J gets ready to turn the big 1-1, I find myself reminiscing. I gave my parents hell as a tween and young teen.
Fortunately, it wasn't a rehab/juvie/bootcamp/she-has-no-future-type hell. That would come later. But attitude and emotion wise? Hell.

And yet, despite the "I hate you"s and "You never let me do anything"s and "My life sucks so hard"s, my parents gave me an amazing childhood.

We were a camping family. Camping, as in flushing toilets, showers and electricity, for the most part. Something like this:Of course, now the norm looks more like this:

For more than a dozen years, we would spend our weekends at "The Campground" from May to June and September to October, and the entire months of July and August.

My friends and I could navigate our way through thick woods by age 8 and build the perfect campfire before age 10. We could pitch a 3-person tent in 10 minutes and then squeeze 6 little girls in for a slumber party. My sisters and I could pack a station wagon with 2 months of supplies for a family of 5 in 30 minutes and do it RIGHT, so that all of the immediate-needs items could be unpacked in 10, and we could run off to find our Campground friends.

We knew how to bait a hook, fix a bike chain, cook over an open fire, walk a dead tree to cross a brook, tip a cow, sheer a sheep, make pancakes for 15, cook mountain pies for any meal AND dessert, carve initials in trees, smoke a cigarette without getting caught OR burning down the woods, and stretch an 11pm curfew to 11:35 without getting grounded.

This is where I met my best friends, got my first and worst skinned knees, my first kiss and my first broken heart, learned to appreciate the scent of moth balls, danced the Electric Slide and the Virginia Reel, played Rummikube with Grandma, and drove Grandpa's car.

The Campground was my life.

Last night, the husband and I took the maniacs out to see where Mommy grew up. I was a little nervous about taking them. They know nothing of campground etiquette, and they are definitely not accustomed to doing a lot of walking. Nor are they used to open fire pits or goats that "nibble". I was a bit of a nervous wreck, suddenly seeing danger everywhere.

They LOVED it!
In little more than 4 hours, we managed to squeeze in a tour of all the animal pens (goats, turkeys, geese, horses, cows, and sheep), time on the playground, dinner, a peek at my old campsite, a great big campfire, and way too many s'mores. And I forgot to bring a real camera.

It was so cool to see my kids being, well, ME!

All morning, they've been asking when we'll take them back. I think it's time to start shopping for a starter trailer.

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