My Grandmamma and Granddaddy Brown were avid campers who often took me and my sister, Susi, along. I have fond memories and miss those times.
We started in a pop-up camper and gradually progressed to a small travel trailer with a table on one end, a tiny kitchen in the middle and a double bed on the other end. Above our snoring grandparents, Susi and I squeezed into a bunk bed where our heads hit the ceiling when we sat up. The close quarters got smaller in the morning when Granddaddy Brown woke early and boiled water for his Sanka.
This suffocating steam sent us outside to explore and play in the dirt and gravel with other camping kids. We were never bored. The only time I remember missing home was when Granddaddy kept a running tab in his little notebook of how much I owed him for meals while we traveled from one state park to another. He knew I was gullible, and although he never kept a tab for Susi, I believed him and hoped my dad would pay him back for my $1.50 breakfast.
My grandparents traveled with their camping club, The Puddle Ducks, and spent nights sitting in lawn chairs and talking either under an awning or around a campfire. Occasionally, they'd send us kids snipe hunting. If you don't know what that is, you've missed a great part of growing up.
When my daughter was a teenager, I willingly chaperoned her youth group, Concord Baptist, on a few rafting trips, and my favorite part of the trip was the quiet, relaxing campfire after an adventurous day in the hot sun. Without cell phones, ipods, video games or television, entertainment for three adults and eleven kids was a crackling fire, where we enjoyed each others' company and combed the woods for the perfect marshmallow toasting stick.
I remembered to buy marshmallows but forgot the graham crackers and chocolate bars; however, a toasted marshmallow between two chocolate chip cookies was a hit and became known as a "Concord" S’more.
Several of us stayed outside for hours after the Concord S’mores were gone and watched the colorful flames grow then subside as logs burned and flames danced. We watched the logs change, fall, break, then turn to ash. More logs were added, heating our faces and providing us with more quiet entertainment as they slowly burned, diminished, and eventually crashed to the ground, throwing red sparks at our feet. Real and unrehearsed, witnessing nature's superiority over anything manmade was far better than watching television.
My friends' fire pit
where they enjoy campfire television
This natural entertainment seems to be popular now, not just with autumn bon fires and winter fireplaces, but with cozy fire pits on our patios. It isn't easy, but hopefully we're moving our families away from technology as often as possible. I don't intend to give up my favorite shows, but it won't hurt to watch a few hours of campfire television more often.
Turn it off and go outside,
2016 Concord Young Singles
enjoying natural entertanment