Camping 102

smoreI missed our Sunday Evening Art Gallery post yesterday as I was camping for the weekend with my crazy family. We try and rent side-by-side sites, all the better to have the grandkids run helter skelter between grandparent campers. What one grandparent doesn’t have the other does. Riding vehicles, pokey sticks for the fire, dog treats, juice boxes — grandparents are a cornicopia of things to make the world a better place.

There is a payment for those hidden tokens, though. Marshmallows and flower hunting come at a price.

I  haven’t ridden a bicycle in a couple of years. Well, this past weekend changed all that. Bicycle to the bathroom. Bicycle to the beach. Bicycle around the “O”. All with my 6-year-old grandson. First ride in the morning, last ride in the evening. Not to be left behind as a lazy granny, I’m peddling off towards the sunset, blinded by the light, laughing as I’m crying. It wouldn’t be proper to say what part of my body hurts the most, but let’s just say it’s in the middle of the word SassY.

We also play Polish Horseshoes, a game made of string and blocks of wood and dowel rods. I’m sure there’s a professional name and version of this game, but not by us. And the more the participants drink, the harder it is to hit simple blocks of wood. We cook enough food for every meal to feed an army. Sometimes it’s a mishmash of Polish and Mexican and Belgium; other times it’s carefully planned exercises in free-for-all. I suppose that’s to ensure that there’s something on the table everyone likes. And leftovers to make their way to all ends of the state.

That’s why I need more bicycle rides.

Beach time is tella tubby time, but the grandkids don’t notice, so neither do I. It’s a time to build sand castles, endure freezing water temperatures, and wander over to the food stand for an ice cream cone. It doesn’t matter that the ice cream is fattening or the sand is corrosive — all it means is that for a short time GB and I were building castles in the air and drowning the poor sand soldiers made of plopped pillars of sand.

The best times are when family and friends sit around the campfire. Night has descended, the birds and squirrels are asleep, and the park’s raccoon pack hasn’t made it down to our campsite yet. We settle in our chairs, drink our drinks, make sticky, messy, yummy Smores, and talk about our lives. We all become human around the fire — not some speedy office hero, super mom, retired teacher, or trained security guard. We are just family people, sharing family thoughts, dreaming of the best way to retire or clean out our basements or keep in touch with other family members who don’t want to keep in touch. We tell each other what a good job we’ve done as parents and friends and children, how the world is going to hell in a handbasket, and how we would fix it if we could. Then we finally make it back home, derierres and leg muscles sore, hearts fixed.

Family Time, Friend Time, is so important to human survival. We don’t have to be best friends with the world to be best friends to one. Find one. Find a dozen. Share yourself. People will accept you, quirks and all.

And who better to share smores with than someone who is as full of sticky sweet sugar as you?


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