Teach us to number our days aright, that we may gain a heart of wisdom. - Psalm 90:12 (NIV)
I’d looked forward to Memorial Day weekend with an anticipation I hadn’t felt in years. My oldest son suggested a campout in one of the old hayfields on what used to be the Huey farm. (The land is still in the family—it’s just not farmed anymore.) We hadn’t been camping since 1999, the summer our oldest son got married and our daughter left for her job in Augusta, Georgia.
Since we bought it in 1992, our '82 Itasca has seen many a family camping trip—to Prince Gallitzen, Clear Creek, Pymatuning, Blue Knob, and Sinnemahoning state parks, and Curwensville Dam. There was the fishing trip to Canada with the Benson crew in '93, and six years later, our trip out West. We headed out the day after my daughter’s high school graduation to take her to a weather school in Helena, Montana, to get her certificate as a meteorological technician/weather observer, going through the Black Hills, visiting Custer’s Last Stand and Mount Rushmore along the way. After getting her settled, we headed south to Yellowstone Park for a few days.
Several years later, when our youngest son pitched for his college baseball team, we used the motorhome for weekend away games (mostly in West Virginia), twice making the trip to Florida with the team over spring break for a week of baseball games.
We tried to sell the motorhome after he graduated from college and his baseball days were over, but the only call we got was from someone who wanted to help us sell the thing. When I got back into canning garden produce, I used its propane stove to can beets and beans, thereby saving my kitchen stove from the extra wear and tear, and us from a too-hot kitchen.
After canning season, my husband winterized it, covering the 26-foot, Class A RV with a humungous sheet of thick black plastic. And that’s the way it sat for two years. With my neck surgery at the beginning of last June and months spent in recovery, we didn’t even take the plastic off last summer. We talked about taking a few get-away weekends camping through the summer, but neither of us wanted to take the time and the money to get it back on the road.
Then our son suggested the Memorial Day campout.
Off came the black plastic. The windows were opened, the bedding aired out, the refrigerator scrubbed, and the surfaces wiped down. We drove it to the back field and set it up.
I’d forgotten how nice it was to sit around the campfire with family, eating mountain pies for supper and in the morning helping the men cook a cowboy breakfast of bacon, eggs, sausage, and potatoes, all cooked over the campfire.
I’d thought our camping days were over. But I was wrong.
As we broke camp Monday afternoon, we left the motorhome at the campsite around the hill. The days of family fun aren’t over, as I once thought—they’re just beginning.
In this season of life, when I thought the fun things we used to do as a family were over and done, thank you for bringing camping back into our lives. Amen.
Special-Tea: Read Psalm 90