July Creative Challenge, Day 6: Family Vacation


I’m not sure who that boy is behind me. I don’t really recognize him. But to be fair I don’t recognize too much of “me” in the me of this old picture.

Clearly we are on vacation. That’s our camel colored tent in the background.

The size of my bosom indicates that I am in the 12-14 year old range. If my mouth were open I’d be able to date the photo more accurately by amount of hardware / braces on my teeth.

The necessity of a bandana indicates that this is a Wednesday or Thursday of our holiday from running water.

My family liked to take camping trips for vacations. We hit almost every park in our state with overnight tent facilities. As my sweatshirt indicates, we had a special fondness for Elk Neck State Park on the top eastern tip of Maryland. We also liked the far western side of the state with and camped several times in the Deep Creek area.

My mom would pack our Coleman freezer (which was the same color as our tent, except the door had a snazzy faux wood panel.) with ice, solid frozen meat, blocks of home made noodle casseroles, like Beef Stroganoff and cardboard cans of frozen lemonade and punch.  As the week wore on the ice melted. By mid-week — by the time this photo was taken — the meat had thawed, the Stroganoff was gone, and drinks were reduced to lemonade made from a powder and the warm water from a communal pump.

It never failed to rain on a family camping trip. Often we’d go to sleep to the sound of the rain hitting the outside of our canvas tent and awake to find our air mattresses floating in a pond inside.

When it was hot it was REALLY hot. No air conditioning. No fans just 6 sticky, stinking,  hot,  people in a tent.

The bugs sucked. (The mosquitos literally sucked.)

On the plus side the Rangers were always great, pleasant and a little weird (in a good way). They seemed to have an endless supply of stuff-to-do-with-bored-kids up their sleeves. Like the Ranger who taught us how to find water using two sticks.  (Sure it was going to RAIN in two hours — it always did — but we had sticks just in case.) Or the wonderful Ranger who took us on a night-time walk that ended in a meadow. Just before we trail opened up to the meadow we had to turn off our flashlights and hold on to the person in front of us by the shoulder. Then we had to close our eyes as he lead us the last 100 feet or so into the meadow. SURE now it sounds like something in a horror movie, but what really happened was our eyes adjusted to the dark and as we got to the opening of the meadow and  we saw the most fantastic display of stars. We could see the Milky Way with the naked eye, and falling stars. We spent about an hour craning our necks to learn about the constellations. It was fabulous.

You also got to meet a bunch a new people every time you pitched your tent.

To be fair, most of the camping grounds now have shower houses and communal FLUSH toilets. However… I think if my husband suggested we take a weeklong “Vacation” in a tent with out running water — Um, no. That girl no longer exist.


About ritalovestowrite

Freelance writer, graphic designer, musician, foodie and Jane Austen enthusiast in Northern Baltimore County, Maryland. As a writer I enjoy both fiction and non fiction (food, travel and local interest stories.) As an advocate for the ARTS, one of my biggest passions is helping young people find a voice in all the performing arts. To that end it has been my honor to give one-on-one lessons to elementary, middle and high school students in graphic design and music. And as JANE-O I currently serve as the regional coordinator for JASNA Maryland and am working on a Regency/Federal cooking project. View all posts by ritalovestowrite

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