Weekend Assignment asks about one of my favorite topics:
Look out – here comes summer! Kids are out of school, community pools and seasonal ice cream stands are open, and temperatures north of the Equator are on the rise. Summer is traditionally the time for families to go on vacation together. What are your summer vacation plans, if any? What time of year are you most likely to pack up the family and get out of town? Is there a particular place you go more often than anywhere else?
Extra Credit: When and where did your family usually go on vacation when you were a kid?
One thing Dear Wife and I like to do, in times like these, is visit her Grandfather. Her Grandfather lives only a couple hours away, and has a wonderful, rustic little cabin in the mountains with fantastic views. Both Dear Wife and I love to retreat to the mountains, out into the forest, to get away from it all. It’s so calming and relaxing – as if all the problems and stresses of life melt away with the altitude. We plan to do that this summer as well for at least one weekend. Only this time, we’ll be bringing along someone new!
Dear Wife and I also both love camping… (Although, it’s a travesty, but we’ve never been camping together since we got married. I know, I don’t know why that happens, either!) And we intend to raise B.T. with a healthy love and respect for camping and nature. As soon as the tyke is able (which won’t be for a while, we realize), we’ll be taking him up for some good-old-fashioned communing with nature.
I also won’t be in school forever. Next summer I’ll finally be free of summer classes (as I’ll be graduated by then) so who knows what wonderful summer vacation plans await our little family next year?
Regarding the bonus question, it’s always fun to reminisce about the good times from childhood. Of course, I love camping today because my family, growing up, went camping every year for summer vacation after we came back state-side. (I spent several of my earlier years in Germany, and I don’t recall ever camping in Germany.) One year we went to the Grand Canyon. Another year to Sequoia and King’s Canyon. Another year to Zion. I loved all of these summer excursions. Every year we tried to do a different place – though many years we had to pick a destination a little closer to home and a littler easier on the pocket-book. We didn’t grow up rich, you could say. But one of the great things about camping is that you can have a great time and it’s not terribly expensive.
The two best parts about camping, to me, were always hiking and camp food. I’ve never been really real backpack hiking… a symptom of my boyscout-less boyhood, and one I hope someday to rectify. But we’d always do a two or three-hour round-trip hike at whatever camping destination we chose. Camp food, meanwhile, was always delicious. Real fire in a pit, potatoes and corn wrapped in foil and thrown on the grill (or, one time, we buried the foil-wrapped potatoes under the pit where the baked… spectacular!), and burgers, or hot dogs, or steak. And after dinner: s’mores! And for breakfast every morning it was scrambled eggs or pancakes with bacon or sausage or hot oatmeal. These are the flavors that stick with me, even today.
It’s hard to describe with mere words the sheer joy these things brought to my life.