Monday, August 4, 2014

When I Look at You

We went camping with the young uns last summer.

When I was dating my wasband we discovered, through a friend, a place deep in some acreage owned by a paper mill. You couldn't have stumbled on it if you were trying. We're talking deep, deep in the woods. On a little, charming river.

I was probably 20 or 21 the first time I went up there. We had a large group of friends and we all settled into yearly trips up to this magical place. Three to four times a year minimally.

Wasband and I started out in a small tent, then graduated to a camper that sits in a truck bed. Oh the luxury of a real bed! And a sink to do dishes in. And a stove. But I digress.

We would bring all of our toys up there because there are literally miles and miles of trails and seldom-used roads for dirt biking, dune buggies, and 4-wheelers. I was the only girl that had a dirt bike, but I was so horrible at it that I rarely went out with the boys. Instead, I would putt around the trails on my own and had such a blast I can't even tell you. I loved my version of dirt biking. Once in a rare while the boys would take pity on my and let me ride along. I'd struggle to keep up and I remember one of our friends, Jeff, would always make sure I was in sight.

Wasband also had a dune buggy he had made out of a Ford Lincoln chassis (I think it was a Ford Lincoln - it was from a huge car anyway) and we would pile on that and race around wreaking havoc and sprinkling fun-dust all over that place. For miles and miles.

We were very young and very much the partiers as some 20-somethings are. Lots of laughing, drinking, and just general shenanigans as you can imagine.

The group began aging. Wasband and I got married, then got pregnant. I remember hopping in and out of the truck camper with my 8-month belly. You just figure out a way to do the things you need to do somehow. I would sit in one of those tri-fold chairs with the foot part elevated a bit so I could rest my swollen ankles and somehow squeezed my large belly into that small over-the-cab bed.

The next year we had a nine-month old baby to bring with us. We have photos of Bella sitting in a playpen with a little visor on her head. Looking at us with her old-soul eyes. We would throw her into the overhead bed and board her in so she couldn't roll out of the bed in her sleep.
She would peek out of the small window and watch us at the campfire while we were talking, drinking, laughing. We would see her little face and say, "Sleepy-byes Bella! Go sleepy-byes!" Her little head would disappear, but I'd soon spot it again. She would eventually fall asleep listening to our silliness.

We kept camping. Lorenzo was born into the same deal. Eventually we bought a large, old, Winnebago and squeezed that thing down the winding, never-ending trail that led to our campsite.

We would take family trips there. I vividly remember once camping with all of our friends and then we stayed on for another week or so and camped just the four of us. Lorenzo was so little that she was still running around with a pacifier, lovingly called her "fire" by her adorable self, and a bonnet on her head.
I don't know why, but the chipmunks loved her pacifiers and if we left one out on the table when we went to bed they would scamper onto the table and STEAL them! Lorenzo would bellow in the morning, "Meemunks took my fire!! Momma! Meemunks took my fire!" I can see her little body running around the campsite shaking her finger. I still wonder why those damn chipmunks were so in love with Lorenzo's pacifiers!? So funny to think about. Tears are squirting out of my eyes just a little bit right now just having this memory.

Family camping. We never could quite afford Disney World or flying anywhere for that matter, but family camping was the highlight of every summer for us as a young family.

What could have been better?
Apologies - all photos were taken from prints that I shot with my camera. No scanner.  :(


Anonymous said...

What a picture perfect post and story with lovely memories.

I take photos of photos as well.... xox

deb-oh-rah said...

So many great memories of our wild, "pioneer" days, escaping the city for the primitive Barrens. We were able to be wild there - so civilized now. ;-)

Karen Ann said...

I think this is my most favorite post of yours, just awesome. Those family -together vacations and those awesome fire stealing meemunk memories are worth their weight in any airline ticket disney vacation buying gold.

T said...

Camping! Ah, yes. I remember camping with our two oldest sons when they were younger, and I've always felt guilty about our third (arriving years later) not having those same memories. It makes me sad. Camping was the best--even when it rained.

So many funny stories with those adventures. And food always tasted better when camping, ya know? And those damn racoons would steal our food at night while we were sleeping!

The good ol' days.

Love that last photo the most...faded memories are the most endearing.

Keep telling your stories, Deborah. I gobble them up every time.

Sarah said...

I love that we have continued to go up there! I can't wait until Spud gets to go up. Maybe next year Daddy will let me take him :) I want him to have the same memories. And is live to go up multiple times a year, once just isn't enough.