Camptown Ladies

There's no denying it now: I'm officially deep into one of my downward spirals, one of my heavily proto-emo moods, where I'm going to end up wearing black all the time and dying my hair green and listening to The Smiths and The Cure and Depeche Mode on repeat for six years. Just like high school, but now ... with a blog!

And this masochism is only going to get worse, because after Shae's birthday next week I'm going to have to start throwing myself into what is maybe the most passive-aggressive thing that one could possibly do, to wit: I am going to start planning our upcoming camping "vacation." There are not enough rolly-eye emoticons in the world.

August 1984

We're a camping family, or at least we were once. I remember when I was a kid, and how I used to look forward to our annual trips to the 1000 Islands, in upstate New York. Although why I looked forward to it, I can't really say, because even way back then, I hated bugs and dirt and humidity. And especially worms, which are a big part of the action, because fishing figures prominently.

Campsite - 1970's-ish?

People think I'm kidding when I say it, but now that I have experienced the joy and wonder that is the all-inclusive resort hotel with swim-up bar and poolside beverage service, my idea of "roughing it" is staying at a Motel 6. It's been a very long time since I've slept in a tent. In the dirt. In the outdoors. With the daddy longlegs and the 100-yard trek to the public toilets in the middle of the night. Sometimes it's hard for me to wrap my head around voluntarily participating in an activity that has not gotten much more technologically advanced in the last 30 years, unless you count recent advances in air-mattress-inflation-speed technology as "progress."

I mean, really, does that sound like a "vacation" to you? To me it sounds more like a penance.

Mikey Greg & Sally

Then again, a lot of big family moments can come out of getting back to nature. Little things, unnoticed at the time. So we're going to do it, and I am going to do my best to try to enjoy myself. It's probably going to require copious amounts of toasted marshmallows and wine coolers, but these are risks I am willing to take, I suppose.

Rocks 1

I am not the least bit concerned about whether Shae is going to like camping -- I think that is pretty much a given. She likes fresh air, she likes grass and trees, and already she is showing an aptitude for climbing over rocks, which is the second most popular activity in Wellesley Island State Park, after "fishing" (which is really just drowning worms, but let's not tell her that, okay?).


Actually, there's no doubt in my mind that she'll have a great time. There are lots of places to explore, and lots of swimming to be done, and we're making it a family reunion of sorts, with lots of my relatives coming along. There will be maybe half a dozen little kids there, and already I can hear the happy screeching and the laughter and the endless refrains of "The Littlest Worm."

Rocks 2

I can say that camping was highly educational for me once. I learned to cook sunny-side-up eggs, I used an Epilady for the only time, I saw my very first dirty limerick on a bathroom wall, I caught minnows in a net, I kissed a boy, I watched my dad try to master the PogoBall. It wasn't always all bad.

And if they could figure out a place to put a tiki bar, and hire some hot young things to peel me grapes and bananas and bring them right to my campsite? Maybe we'll talk.


  1. i am so excited. i am bouncing up and down in my chair and clapping just thinking about the 1000 islands. seriously. i've turned into my 17-month-old son getting excited about seeing daddy or getting his pacifier or eating french fries. but i don't care. it's going to be AWESOME!!

  2. just reading that makes me need valium.

  3. What an awesome post, and quite frankly, that first picture is freakin' priceless! Your recollection is so accurate! I think it's scary that Jaime is looking forward to the public toilet thing in the middle of the night. You also forgot the Swamp Stomp, only having one shower for 50 campsites, storing water in big 5 gallon plastic containers and the Rec Barn. I have to know... who did you kiss?

  4. haha i don't even remember his name! but he was older than me, i think he was going into 10th grade when i was going into 8th, and he was friends with the trznadels. the one who yelled "camerooooooon!" all the time and taught me how to catch minnows in a net.

    oh, and the swamp stomp! i loved that, but if i tried it now i'd get eaten alive.