Camping is foreign to some people. Maybe it is to you. I grew up camping. My childhood family of nine always had some sort of recreational vehicle – travel trailer, truck camper, renovated school bus, mini motorhome – we had it all at one time or another.
Camping is a lot of work, especially with a large family. My mom worked overtime to get everything ready for our family to be sustained on weekend outings. I remember Dad pulling the camper to the front door and my siblings and I making run after run from the kitchen to the camper, filling it with food and supplies.
One summer, we (all nine of us) piled into a pickup and camper for a month of travel. We drove through Canada into Connecticut, stopping in New York City and Niagra Falls and back to Montana through the States. We cooked all our meals (bless my dear Mother) in the camper or on a campfire, only stopping once to buy ice cream about 2 hours from home. Three people rode in the cab of the truck while the rest of us played and rode in the back. At night we set up a tent for my brothers while the rest of us slept in the camper. I have only fond memories of that trip. Mom might remember something else.
Two things occur to me as I write this. First, traditions are important. When I was a child, we had specific weekends we always camped or had family outings. Labor Day weekend we camped at Spotted Bear, a remote, primitive campground, with cousins on my Dad’s side. We absolutely loved it. At the time, school didn’t begin until after Labor Day, so it was a great end to the summer.
Secondly, remembering is as important as the tradition. In remembering, we relive the good and rewrite the bad. An adult perspective helps temper childhood memories. I recall a camping trip to Yellow Bay, a campground along the shore of Flathead Lake. (Flathead Lake is the largest fresh water lake west of the Mississippi and a wonderful place to recreate!) On this particular weekend, we were camping with our cousins from town. We lived on a farm in the country; the cousins lived on a hobby farm on the outskirts of town. I thought they were fancy – kind of like the country mouse and the city mouse.
Anyway, my aunt always brought Spam. My mom didn’t buy it because it was expensive to feed seven children with canned meat. Some might say we were fortunate; I thought it was a travesty. So, when evening rolled around, the moms would get out all manner of snacking food, including the Spam. I could hardly wait for the can to be twisted open and splayed out to eat. I loved it! At least I thought I did.
From an adult perspective, the Spam was as much about what I thought we were missing living in the country rather than the city, as it was about the product. Having eaten it recently, it isn’t all that great. I consider it a blessing that we were not sustained on a canned ham product. But as a child, it represented everything I perceived city life offered.
For sure, some memories are traumatic and need to be rewritten with adult perspective and the guidance of the Holy Spirit. But there are many memories that can be revisited and reimagined from the safety of our adult minds.
As I write today, I am at Triponds Family Camping Resort sitting in the open air, listening to chimes gently swayed by the afternoon breeze, with my youngest granddaughter at my side. She rests quietly in the stroller, cooled by the small desk top fan in front of me. So, I continue to share camping traditions not only with my children, but my grandchildren.
Read: Deuteronomy 6:4-9
What are you passing on to the next generation? How would you like to rewrite your memories? What are you doing to preserve your experiences by passing the memories to the next generation?
Until next time…
May the Lord bless you and protect you.
May the Lord smile on you and be gracious to you.
May the Lord show you his favor and give you his peace.Numbers 6:24-26