Tuesday, June 9, 2009
Memories of Camping
When I was little, we used to spend several summer weekends at a campsite in Westfield, Vermont. On the corner of the campsite was a general store where, when we had arrived and my childish energy knew no bounds, my father would give me a quarter and I would run to buy myself an Eskimo sandwich. Naturally, this must have bought my parents time to set up camp. My other sisters and I would shed our clothes (we had put on our bathing suits underneath), grab a towel, and follow the dirt road up the hill to the natural pool in the woods. On our way we would encounter other kids on their bikes, without helmets, barefoot and with towels around their necks. We would all return later, hungry and pleasantly exhausted, our bathing suits stained green from the moss and slime that grows on rocks in moist northern environs.
My father grilled hotdogs and hamburgers -- nothing fancy like today's gourmet grillers. My sisters and I would hang out with the Paxton boys, the sons of the family that owned the campsite. They would tell us scary ghost stories well into the wee hours, and I became convinced that the bridge on the grounds was haunted and I would not survive traversing it alone.
Every morning, my father would get up early to cook bacon and eggs on the fire. We would then go for a walk, the two of us alone. He would stoop down to point out chipmunks or interesting birds to me, and stop to light a cigarette from time to time. He was so handsome in those days, wearing a hat, and his skin turning brown in the sun. I haven't been camping since I was about ten years old, and wow do I miss it.
Do you have fond childhood memories of camping?