Sunday, August 29, 2010

Camping Memories

Growing up almost every year my family went camping. We were a home-school family so we always went right after school started. That way we ALWAYS had the whole campsite to ourselves. These camping trips where magical.

The week leading up to it was filled with anticipation. My mother would pull out ten pages of lists (ok slight exaggeration but seriously they were LONG). She pulled out bins of all of our camping stuff. There where long tongs to roast marshmallows with, water guns, the green camp stove that only my mother could start (I think I saw the exact same camp stove in a Coleman museum), plastic sleeping bags that where not that comfortable, the big green tent my parents always slept in and we where never allowed in, the small orange tent that either the girls or the boys slept in each year, I could go on and on.

Finally the day of the trip arrived. We would stuff the car with all of our gear and whatever my siblings and I wanted to bring. With five kids and two dogs the car was stuffed to the brim. Finally we would pull out with great excitement... only to pull around the block because we forgot something. One time my father, right after we had finished packing and most of us had climbed in, pulled out without my mother and drove around the block. When we asked him why he had done that he replied, "Just saving time."

We always camped by the Buffalo River. It is one of the most picturesque places I have been to. Getting up that first morning and seeing the fog rise to reveal beautiful rock formations, towering lushes green trees, the river peacefully flowing by, it was magical. Mama would start the camp stove to make the morning coffee and eggs. Someone always found the left over red embers of the fire the night before and got a small flame going. After breakfast you could go swimming, hiking, exploring, or simply sit around the campsite and read and enjoy.

At some point during the day all five of us would go for a swim and play "Callabunga." It was a game we made up. All of us armed with water guns would split into two teams. Whoever could yell the loudest would scream out "CALLABUNGA" and we would all start firing, splashing, and causing as much mayhem as we possibly could! I think the goal was to slash and make as much noise as possible. Someone would always go under the water and pinch my sister to watch her jump and scream and start looking for a water snake.

When the sun set my father would gather wood and start a fire, my mother would turn on her camp stove, and we would roast hot dogs and make baked beans for dinner. We would sit around that fire until late into the night. Talking, laughing, singing old Southern Gospel hymns, roasting marshmallows, and snacking on the plethora of goodies my mother brought. She always brought twinkies, Little Debbie Snacks, cookies, and all those things we never had at home.

To this day I can close my eyes and see the campsite and the river. I can feel the gentle breeze, hear the water and the crickets, I miss it. Those where the good times.

What where some of you favorite summer memories as a child?

7 comments:

  1. We went camping once when I was little with our entire extended family. The trip was cut short though when I got myself a serious burn from a marshmallow I tried to eat right out of the fire. I have a scar and everything. Hadn't tried camping again since. lol.

    Some of my favorite childhood memories are from the apartment complex I lived in growing up. Summer was such a fun time around there. We lived in a cul de sac section and me and my friends would spend all day everyday outside getting into anything and everything we could. We would run, swim, climb, play, you name it. Some of the best summers ever, just being a kid and having absolutely no worries in the world.

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  2. That's awesome that you have such great memories of camping. I've never been on a real camping trip with a tent and stuff. I think I'll stick to the Comfort Inn at this point!

    My favorite summer memories are of my family out on the porch: watching storms, on the swing, catching toads, just hanging out. I do love a porch.

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