Thursday, May 31, 2012

Happy Campers

I couldn’t let this month pass without sharing one our family’s happy places—

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
• Taking our family boat to the sandbar or down the Waterway or to Swansboro for a little shopping
• Grilling out and enjoying some adult beverages under the trees
• 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
• Wearing flip flops or the same clothes as yesterday
• Napping because there’s nothing else I have to do
• Watching the kids eat play in the dirt just five minutes after I scrubbed them down
• Telling stories about years gone by and reminiscing about those who left us too soon
• Walking out on the pier, listening to the water lap on the shore
• Doing whatever and being happy because

We’re with family.


Jennifer Forbes said...

What a neat camper Mel. I bet your family, [especially the kids] will look back at the times at the beach as their favorite.

Beth said...

Wow! That looks like the perfect place to relax all summer. Your kids are going to have such special memories of that camper.

We've gone to the Outer banks a few times and always want to stay. I'm jealous you are close enough to spend weekends at the beach.

Just Another Mom of Twins said...

Jealous. really. really. JEALOUS! (In a friendly kinda way though...LOL!)

Looks like the perfect place to make lots of great memories...

Daddy Dave & I hope to have a small travel trailer for next summer...fingers crossed!


RoryBore said...

Love camping. Best times ever. So jealous of your lovely lil camper though. we still do the tent thing. yep, 3 kids and us in a tent. fun times. LOL
DH has the whole "set up" down to a science though. I take the kids for a swim at the beach, a snack and when we get back - Viola!
Starlight Hotel
best rooms in town :)

Martine said...

That sounds AMAZING! It's nice to see everyone having fun!

KERRY said...

That sounds like my kind of vacation too, your new camper looks awesome!! I'd have it all set up nice and cosy :)
Such good times, all of it sounds wonderful!
You are creating great memories for Emily and Drew now :)

Cathy said...

Those are my favorite kind of vacations and the kids love them too.

Suzanne said...

Just found your blog - wanted to say the camper looks so awesome and it brings back memories of my own childhood. Looking forward to reading more!

MandyE (Twin Trials and Triumphs) said...

I almost get a little misty-eyed reading this. This is such an awesome tradition...what a beautiful present your family gave you growing up, that you're now able to share with the next generation. It's truly priceless. :) :) Soak it up!!!

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