I’m sitting in a state campground, in a folding nylon camp chair, typing fireside, while Chickadee and Swan sit inside the trailer playing Rummikub. They are understandably tired, having talked non-stop on the drive up here, eaten their weight in snacks, dinner, and popsicles, and then run off to the nearby playground to roll in the mud.
Okay, technically they may not have rolled in the mud. Their clothes just look like they did.
I would love to tell you that they’re having the time of their lives, the greatest time I’ve ever seen two people have, except that I think it’s possible that Otto is having an even better time than they are. And—truth be told—I’m having a pretty darn nice time, myself. This may be the longest stretch of fresh air I’ve had in weeks. Or months! I should be ashamed. I am ashamed, a little. But this afternoon I read half a book. I cannot tell you the last time I just sat outside and read for a few hours, uninterrupted.
I realize that I’m a newbie to the whole camping thing, and that those of you who are hardcore take-only-what-you-can-carry bushwhackers think that camping with a trailer is for pansies, but you know that expression, “It takes all kinds?” I am here at the campground to tell you that IT ABSOLUTELY TAKES ALL KINDS.
We are parked here with our cute little bank-foreclosure not-new-but-not-too-old trailer, and the park is pretty full, so we have folks on both sides of us. On our right is an RV that retails for more than what our house is worth, and it appears to be new or close to it. They towed their brand new Honda CRV behind them, too. We haven’t actually seen more than a glimpse of those folks; one assumes they are sitting inside, drinking fine wine with their caviar and thinking annoyed thoughts about the commoners.
On our left is a fairly ancient 5th wheel trailer belonging to the Duggar family. Oh, I kid! These people only have three children. And two extremely yappy chihuahuas. And approximately fifty billion Christmas lights looped all over the awning of their trailer. And it is totally the fashion on a 90-degree Georgia summer day to force your daughters to wear floor-length picnic tablecloths. They look totally comfortable! Their tow vehicle is an unremarkable pick-up truck logo-ed with a very Christian-sounding business of indeterminate purpose. Perhaps they haul around salvation when they’re not camping.
A bevy of children are running to and fro, my favorite being a pair of cherubic 5ish-year-old twin girls who scream constantly in some weird sort of pidgin language. They’ve run through our site multiple times, always screeching something like, “EEEEE! SCRAW GOOO FANDAHMO!”
And then Otto turns to me and says, “He screwed good phantoms?”
And I reply, “She screamed to Santa more?”
And then we chuckle and go back to our books.
Watching the girls (my girl, and her pal; not the gibberish-speaking twins) as they run around is unexpectedly delightful to me, as I rarely get to be an observer of one of my kids in their natural environment, a.k.a. while being ridiculous with a friend. Later this summer, Chickadee will go see her dad while Monkey stays behind, and then we’ll do another trip with him and a friend of his, and I’ll get to enjoy the boy version. I suspect it will involve even more mud.
Tomorrow we will hike and maybe swim, and there will be more good food and plenty of snacks and popsicles, and I may even finish my book.
Right now, though, I have to go have a s’more. I bought wheat-free graham crackers, even, because I may not have known what all camping involves, but I KNOW IT MEANS S’MORES.