We used to go camping when the kids were little. We outgrew the desire to do that over the years, I guess. But, I'm starting to think that might be fun again. I'm sure camping would be a solo adventure for me now, though. Maybe I'll try it out in the back yard first.
We used to camp at Lake Bonham with the Byrd and Falls families. I remember on one trip the Byrds and Praters got there first. The wives took the kids over to the playground, and Mark Byrd and I struggled to get our tents up. Sweltering heat, dusty wind, uneven ground, bent tent stakes, profanity-laced outbursts. Mark finally came over to give me a hand. We eventually got both tents up, our hair going in all directions, our faces covered with dust, our shirts salt-stained, but our egos feeling accomplished.
The Falls finally arrived, and David, decked out in plaid shorts, polo shirt, and topsiders, hopped out of their mini-van and sent Teri and the kids out to play. David turned a little handle and popped up their camper, canopy and all. Mark and I looked at each other and hung our heads in shame. When David started stringing those party lights through the trees, we got misty-eyed and had to look away. What kind of men are we, we thought? What kind of fathers?
We headed over to join the others at the playground. Mark and I draped ourselves over a bench, totally pooped, while David scampered over to play with the kids. We should be ashamed of ourselves! What kind of men are we? What kind of fathers?
We men finally snuck back to camp for some snacks. Mark and I got out our Ho-Hos and Ding-Dongs and Nutty Buddys and Bugles and Cheetos and Big Red; David got out a big bag of grapes and plums and some sparkling water. And, man did David ever eat some grapes and plums! By the time the girls and kids got back about an hour later, David was starting to turn green and was laid back in one of his adirondack chairs with a wet towel over his face.
What kind of a man is that, we thought? What kind of a father is that?