I remember camping as being a time when most of the everyday rules were suspended.
Bedtime was when we were done having fun for the day and parents didn’t mind because that meant we were out of their hair.
I’m not sure what is new and exciting for kids today but back then, for me, it was the simple things that changed when we went camping. Perhaps, that was because we didn’t have portable screens. I bet some other older folks out there share my memories.
Do you remember…?
• Those nifty miniature cereal boxes you could cut open and turn into a bowl (thank goodness for that milk-proof waxed paper). We only had cereals like Apple Jacks and Fruit Loops out of those boxes, never at home. Thankfully my dad ate the Rice Krispies that came in the set.
• Hot dogs for dinner—roasting wienies on the campfire. The only other time we had hot dogs was at birthday parties, and then they were boiled. They were good, but not amazing like the roasted ones were. My mom’s camp cooking was home-grown ingenuity – wonders that could all be cooked in a fry pan on the Coleman stove.
• Store-bought cookies. These were another camping delicacy – Oreos and Dad’s Chocolate Oatmeal were our favourites. Mom’s homemade cookies at home were good, but you couldn’t pull them apart or lick off the coating.
• How many verses of “Down by the Bay” we could make up. This was a star achievement on camping road trips. Songs like that made time in the car entertaining, except for when my little brother took up more than his share of the back seat, or when the dog drooled on my shoulder. We didn’t have a Battleship game but we played license plate bingo in the car too.
• New adventures were the essence of camping. I remember great hikes—I did the Illiciliewait glacier trail when I was seven and was very proud. I was also heartbroken when my soaked sneakers melted by the fire instead of just drying out. They were made of vinyl, not leather.
• Rites of passage also occurred. When my cousin got his roasted marshmallow stuck in my pigtail, I learned about patience, perseverance and pain as my mom worked to comb and cut it out.
Some memories are delicious, others are bittersweet. All of them are threads that make the fabric of my life unique.
Now that I’m a grandmother, I look forward to being able to pass along the pattern of those threads to a brand new generation. They might not find it fashionable now, but perhaps they’ll pick it up later in life.
I hope camping will be an occasion to remind my grandkids about having time when there is no need to rush, just a desire to share.
We will sing songs in the car and stop for ice cream and collect treasures and roast marshmallows, just like in the days of old.
This article is written by or on behalf of an outsourced columnist and does not necessarily reflect the views of Castanet.