Our beach “home”—our camper.
Some of my favorite memories from my childhood are from family camping trips at the lake. Back then, camping involved a couple of tents, some lanterns, and a campfire. As a kid, sleeping on the ground with an ever-deflating air mattress and no air wasn’t roughing it; it was an adventure. Nobody missed having a TV because the day was packed with water and floats. What the water didn’t wash off, the showers at the bathhouse would—unless we were too sunburned to let the water hit our red skin. Grilling out, not eating out, was the way to go.
Looking back, my parents would say tents and grilling were all we could afford. Looking back, I’d say we didn’t know the difference.
Years later, our family still loves to camp, but as we’ve aged, we’ve become soft.
About ten years ago, my parents traded any prospect of ever sleeping in a tent again for an air-conditioned camper at the beach.
The camper has a kitchen, two beds, and bathroom. Over the years, they added the screened-in porch, 2 sleeper sofas, a picnic table, a boat, and a golf cart.
Over the last eight years, we’ve also added spouses and four grandchildren, and by last summer, it was obvious that the camper was reaching her capacity.
As luck would have it, in April, a camper three spots down became available (again thanks to family), and our small(er) family of four became the proud new owners of a camper of our own.
Our little camper comfortably sleeps 6 plus two pack and plays. We have our own kitchen and bathroom—even satellite TV. And because I can’t even escape laundry while on vacation, we also have a washer and dryer.
Sure, the space is still tight when the whole family is down like we were for Memorial Day weekend, but we wouldn’t have it any other way.
Our accommodations might have a few more creature comforts these days than they did when we were little, but the experience is still very similar. We still revel in the simple pleasures like
• Waking up and sharing a cup of coffee with my parents
• Piling on the golf cart and riding to the restaurant for a big breakfast
• Listening to my daddy give the waitress a hard time
• Moving the jelly packs away from the babies but letting them drink a creamer (or two)
• Taking countless golf carts rides to nowhere except maybe the “water”
• Packing up and heading to the beach just over the bridge and to the left right past the police station
• Waving to the fellow campers as they pass by, especially the nosey old men
• Playing arcade games in the Clubhouse and getting pissed every time someone mentions how they took out the Ms. Pac Man machine
• Napping because there’s nothing else I have to do
• Watching the kids
• Walking out on the pier, listening to the water lap on the shore
• Doing whatever and being happy because