Before s’mores

By Mir
May 29, 2009

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.


  1. Debbi

    Have a super wonderful time!! Sounds like you are already enjoying it :-)

  2. Lucinda

    Glad you are having a good time. We went camping for the first time ever with the kids last weekend. I’m a total pansy too. A sunny Memorial Day weekend in Oregon is a rare thing so we joined friends for their annual trip and I’m so glad I did. The best part was watching my kids just be kids, swimming, paddle boat, fishing, finding lizards, flying kites, and eating their weight in s’mores. It was wonderful. Hope your weekend is grand!

  3. getsheila

    The real question is, did you bring the bacon salt?

    And now they have baconnaise. I swear, I am not making it up. Here’s link to prove it’s real:

    I saw it and thought of you. Enjoy the fresh air.

  4. Lauren

    Weirdly enough, I think those kids might be singing a snippet of the jingle from the Bollywood-inspired Fandango commercial they play before the movies?

    It is ENTIRELY possible that’s, you know, just me.

  5. Jamie AZ

    Sounds like a great trip to me. Of course, when we go “camping” every summer in Colorado, we stay in a somewhat rustic cabin, but it does have a kitchen, bathroom and cable if we get really bored. We have yet to turn the TV on when we’re there. The cool thing there is that our cell phones don’t work at all, so it’s an electronics-free week for the most part. Happy s’mores!

  6. Dr. Liz

    Have fun! Although, I confess, my husband and I are the ones in the big motorhome – although we’ve got an old Saturn Vue, not a Honda. We don’t eat caviar and sip fine wine. More like microwave popcorn and cheap wine (or expensive watch, depending on which one of us happens to be drinking…). But we generally are pretty antisocial, because we like hanging out with our doggies and our kitty while watching satellite tv… Some would argue that it isn’t really camping, but since we refer to the motorhome as The House With Wheels, we don’t get too hung up on it. Also, we usually wear ourselves out during the day (cycling, kayaking, hiking, etc.), and want to shower and hide at night! For the record, the only people we look down on are the poor people in the pop-up trailers who are out in the rain. (And we only look down on them because they could quite likely be my brother and his family in their leaky pop-up with 3 kids and a large dog. Otherwise we really aren’t RV snobs; we started off in a toy-hauler 5th wheel, and aren’t in a position to really look down on the commoners!)

    Enjoy the fresh air and hiking – now you’ve got me thinking that it’s time to take The House With Wheels on a road trip. Central Idaho, here we come!!!

  7. Dallas Anne

    Cute post! We used to go camping when I was in elementary and middle school a good bit, and my mom was definitely one of the “all kinds” types. We had fancy schmancy homecooked meals breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Ironically, our camper was a Jayco popup with a teeny porto-potty hiding in the “screen room” under the table we cooked on.

    Granted, I am talking about the woman who brought a five-star tapas spread to a NASCAR race, so this should not have come as a surprise to me…

  8. cindy

    I couldn’t help have a funny thought…I’m going to eagerly await your camping posts, particularly the colorful characters you meet (or park beside). This will be fun. Great fodder for a blog, huh?! You were meant to be a camper if for no other reason than to report the skinny back to the world. Who’d a thought it Mir. You can be the blog worlds go to person for “camping: a non-camper’s perspective”

  9. ramblin red

    sounds great. I am jealous as my recent emergency pulmonary surgery has kind of thrown a wrench into summer getaways such as this until recovery is attained, whenever that may be.

  10. Lady of Perpetual Chaos

    I’ve camped all sorts of ways and I think the best way would be in a trailer. A vintage silver Airstream, to be exact. ;o)

  11. Kira

    Ohhh, it sounded so nice…until you said “wheat-free graham crackers.”
    And then I died of sad for you.
    Do you think I put too much importance on food? If you do, can you give me chocolate to ease the sting of saying something so mean?
    Happy camping.

  12. Randi

    Camping is so much fun! We need a camper – right now we have a pop-up 3 room 18 billion people tent.

  13. Julie

    I love how camping can bring all walks of life together and the barriers are lifted. i find campers to be the friendliest people I have ever met. We have a trailer with a bathroom, I would camp no other way!!!! I love watching my boys find their independance riding their bikes and making new friends. The fresh air makes sleeping wonderful too. Enjoy all the memories you are making.

  14. Aimee

    Sounds like you’ve having fun! It’s been ages since I’ve gone camping, but I think if we had a little trailer I could be talked into it. ;)

  15. The Other Leanne

    It sounds like heaven, even with the screeching children and yappy dogs. The kids next door were playing outside the other night, and if they hadn’t been slightly on-key I wouldn’t have guessed that “shaka-boo-thag” was “Shake Your Groove Thang.” It doesn’t explain WHY they were singing that endlessly, however.
    I’m guessing your tablecloth-skirted neighbors are headed to cult headquarters to meet the new wives.

  16. The Other Leanne

    I also think you need a new category for your camping posts: “Nature HO”

  17. moosh

    Sounds like you are enjoying this new adventure. We set off next week to travel through the Rockies camping in a tent. I will be blogging along the way. Please join us if you have time.

  18. Sheri

    I just snorted water when I read about the Duggars and hauling salvation. Camping really does introduce you to ALL kinds. And, it’s amazing how many people want to share the smallest sleeping quarters ever with wet dogs. LOL (I love dogs, just not when wet and camping!) It sounds like you’re having a great time, that’s the only thing that matters. And, I had no idea there were wheat-free graham crackers! I’ll have to pass that along, my SIL is allergic too.

  19. Amy-Go

    S’mores are key. Absolutely key. So it sounds like you’re doing camping right! Have fun!

  20. Kemi

    The Duggar family… *snort*

  21. Nicole

    I have lived in fear of one day having to go into the woods and made to sleep there, with the children no less, but I must say you make it sound pretty appealing. Half a book?? Hoe perfectly dreamy.

  22. Tracy

    I’m so glad you like camping. There is NOTHING more relaxing than lounging all day and reading,eating and then taking a nap and get up and do it all again. And you got the food down right…S’mores!!!!

  23. Kelly

    So fun! And you are right – its not camping and outdoors without s’mores! :)

  24. Katie in MA

    Sounds like you’re having a great time! I am all for the outdoors…but I’m dying to know which book you’re devouring. (How could you leave out the most important detail?!)

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