Alphabet Soup “C”

Camping, no, not glamping…

I grew up in a family with 4 kids. My brother is the oldest, then 2 sisters and then me. My dad loved working on cars and if he wasn’t working, could usually be found with his head under the hood of some old car or truck.

As a family, we usually went to Montana to visit relatives or camping. Somehow I think those two things combined (Daddy under the hood of a vehicle and camping) and we ended up with what I assume to be one of the original motor homes, an old school bus that was converted into a camper. It really was ingenious for the time. Most people were in tents, or campers that fit on their pick up trucks, or they pulled those cute little campers behind their cars. Not us, we rumbled into the campground, backed into our space and we were off! Running to check out the perfect swimming hole. That’s how I remember it, my mother probably had a little different memory of it though because meals magically appeared, beds were warm and cozy…magically, and bathing suits were hung and dry by morning ready to be worn for another adventurous day…again magically, I assume.

Our bus was great, it had bunk beds in the back, a kitchen and the table made into another bed. I remember singing “I’ve Been Workin’ on the Railroad” as my dad drove. We camped a lot at this little lake just an hour or so from home. Browns Lake, was this wonderful tiny lake that we could walk all the way around, swim all the way across or fish from the banks. There were no motor boats so a kid could swim and play without worrying about getting run over by a boat or a wayward skier. We had a ball.

I remember one time, we had taken our dog with us, he was tied up outside the bus. We were in bed and the dog kept growling and barking. No matter what my dad said or did, Sarge (the dog) would not quit, so Daddy finally let him in and after pacing and growling for a few more minutes we all settled down to sleep. The next morning when Mom and Daddy got up there were bear tracks all around the bus. Let this be a lesson…listen to your Sargent, even if he is a dog.

When I got older and had my own family, we became campers ourselves. We didn’t have anything so sophisticated as a big silver school bus turned camper but over the years we’ve camped in some pretty inventive camping apparatus. Sometimes we’ve had a camper but sometimes we had just a canopy on our pick up and sometimes we’d just use air mattresses in the pickup bed with a tarp over it.

When our kids were little, I wanted to show them where we camped when I was a kid and share this wonderful place with my husband too. So we checked it out and amazingly, it was still there! Still rustic and wonderful! My sister Sherry and her husband Tucker started coming with us sometimes. Tucker is their last name, his name is Bob, but he was in the Navy with my brother, whose name is Bob so they always called him Tucker, and since I married a…you guessed it…Bob, Tucker or Tuck was much easier on everyone.

So we began going camping and making fun memories with our families. Tuck, who is a city boy from California really got into the camping thing. He loved fishing and started wearing these overalls with rolled up pant legs. He really looked the part, we started calling him Tuckleberry Finn. So funny.

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The kids spent most of their time in, on or near the water. Swimming, flirting with girls or fishing. There was this little dock, if too many people were on it at one time it would begin to sink. Our youngest, dropped his fishing pole in the water one evening. We were all dressed so no one wanted to get wet again before bed. So I layed down on the dock and was reaching into the water. I was up to my shoulder, stretching, feeling around, there it is, I feel the pole. Before I could bring it up all the kids stepped to the edge of the dock to see and, yep the dock dipped and there I was laying on the dock in 6 inches or so of water. Thanks kids, lol. But hey, I got the pole!

Another time, the boys called my Bob down to the dock, presumably to show him something. I don’t know how long they had been plotting but “Dad” “Uncle Bob” was dressed, not in swimming attire. He walked out onto the dock and all three boys pushed him into the water. Now, this in itself was a brave (or stupid) act, but then they all stood there laughing like hyenas. I saw this with my own eyes or I wouldn’t believe it. Bob went completely under water and came up so fast, he took off chasing the boys, they split up, probably all ending up in the water to get away from him. It was quite funny to watch, but when he came back to camp we started fussing about, “give me your wallet” so we could dry out the contents, “put your shoes by the fire to dry” then we looked at him and he was dry. His hair was dry, his clothes were dry, his wallet was dry. Now as I said before, we all watched him go under water, completely! He seriously was totally dry. I don’t know how he did it, but let me tell you, we had a kid free camp for the rest of that day.

I told you this was a magical place

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