Friday, June 29, 2007

Tenting Tonight on the Old Campground

It was Friday afternoon and I headed down the road loaded for bare. I was kind to the motor, not pushing it, giving myself plenty of time to accelerate and decelerate, taking the turns slow. My son was busily drawing and playing in his seat, my arm was being sunburned through the open window, and Raaf was whining and panting from under the last open space in the car, under the refuge of the back seat. The day was sunny and clear, the traffic not too bad. I listened to the radio, seeking new stations as I drove out of range. Catching info about the weather and the Fourth of July festivities in the neighboring towns. We had our water bottles, I had my cell phone. I dumped a full package of M-n-M's into the bottom of my purse by accident, but it didn't matter. What mattered was we were headed up to camp.

I made really good time - I didn't stop once because I didn't have to. We arrived in the town of Onaway at twenty minutes to six, pulling into the parking lot of Tom's IGA to grab some groceries. Tom's has anything and everything you might have forgot before you left home. We bought some hamburger buns and bread, some fresh fruit, a can of spaghetti rings, and, the most important, a twelve pack of beer. Then it was on the road again, all the while my son whining, "I want to go to Camp Ocqueoc!" He is too young to remember what it's like to camp there!

When we got out to camp, my mom, daughter, and sister were there and happy to see us. "Did you bring the meat?" were the first words out of my sister's mouth. Not really, but because she lives in Canada, she couldn't bring any meat across the border and everyone was hungry. As she fried up hamburgers in the camper and the kids run amok, I popped open a well-deserved beer and surveyed the scene.

The long field grasses were swaying in the breeze and nestled among them, here and there, were dots of color. A variety of wildflowers grow on the property - wild orchids and Indian paintbrush were the two I could name off-hand. Facing west, where the sun was making its downward descent, was Indian Creek. I could hear the sounds the children made from where they were playing on the old wooden footbridge and the babbling and gurgling of the water as it flowed over and around the rocks. From the trees, I heard all types of birds calling - meadowlarks and cedar waxwings - and saw them flitting from branch to branch to catch their evening supper of bugs. The sights and sounds of nature calmed and soothed me.

We ate hamburgers for supper and nothing more. Simple is best. My sister and niece helped me pitch the tents and unload the van. My other niece arrived with her children just as the early dusk was setting in and we helped her get her tent up too. We ran an extension cord to the outhouse and plugged in a light. We hauled water up from the creek for washing. We had everything ready just in time as darkness had settled on the camp. We were all too tired to have a campfire on the first night, so we retired to our tents and to our dreams, eagerly waiting to wake up the next morning for our first day at Camp Ocqueoc.

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