The Enid News and Eagle, Enid, OK


July 26, 2011

Camping can lead to sweet memories

Do you remember your camping days? Think about it.

I fondly remember when I went to church camp. It was like a vacation, and I met many wonderful new friends. We swam. We studied. We made s’mores around a campfire. We had morning vespers. We sang a lot. We laughed a lot. We slept in primitive cabins with showers and bathrooms within walking distance. We used flashlights at night. We watched where we stepped because we knew there were snakes surrounding us. What a wonderful time we had.

Remembering the great times I had during church camps when I was young, I volunteered to be a counselor an entire summer. Those were the best experiences!  I would have one group of kids and learn their names and bond with them. Then, sadly, the week would end and they would go back to their homes. I would come home too and launder my clothes, repack, and head back to the same camp area with a different group of kids and other counselors. I cannot tell you what those camping days meant to me and my faith. I know others have had similar experiences that last a lifetime.

I asked Jim about his camping experiences, but he remembers  only Marine boot camp. He recalls it was not as much fun nor as inspiring as my inspirational times. His were more regimented and “learning experiences” than  mine. However, they were certainly as life-changing.

Because of his “camping out,” he made up his mind that he would never sleep on the ground again, that a cheap motel was rugged enough for him. He had  his fill of C-rations and K-rations and making soup in his helmet. He prefers more traditional meals now. Who can blame him?

Recently, I had a wonderful time when three grandnieces visited us for four days. They are ages 9, 10, and 11, all cousins. We called it “Camp Aunt Peggy.” It was a delight to see them playing make-up like grown-ups for a while, and in the next instance they were playing with Barbie dolls. They found “True Grit” too scary for them, so they watched “Babe.”

They giggled the first night until 2:30, when all got quiet. The next night, they stayed up until 11:30. The last night, they went to bed early and slept until 9:30 the next morning. I had forgotten how little girls giggle all the time. It was music to my ears. I loved every minute of it.    

While they were here, we stayed very busy. We made recipe boxes and glued pictures on the outside. We then cooked and wrote off recipes and they placed them in their boxes to take home. They are all fledgling cooks, and I know their mothers are proud of what they already know.

We made fried yeast bread. We cooked spaghetti and made sauce. We made stuffed brownies. We ate French toast and bacon, pancakes and bacon. I never set the table once while they were here. They did it every time. They were such good helpers and saved me lots of steps.

One day, we went to lunch at the airport. They were captivated by the ships and planes there. They were quite interested in the museum pieces they saw. We stopped at the wall and found Uncle Jim’s name on it. Those little girls know about history and heroes and sacrifices for our freedoms, a tribute to their grateful parents who teach them about life.

We went shopping and shopped until I dropped. They never would have gotten tired of trying on and looking at new clothes. They each selected a cute pair of capris and two tops to go with them. Sounds simple, doesn’t it? NOT. For those few purchases, we shopped and shopped. They are all from rather small towns, so they have few places that carry the wide variety of clothing Enid does. They thought they were in a big city.

We went to the nail salon and they got pedicures and manicures. They even had flowers painted on their big toes. They looked so cute. I was pleased they acted so polite and nice having all that attention.

Beside the cooking, the best thing we did was play “spa.” First, I gave them facials. Then, they created a spa and gave Jim, myself, Kim and Randy facials, foot massages and hand massages. They were really, really good at it. When their mothers came to pick them up Friday afternoon, they gave them the special treatment, too. We used every single towel in the house, but laundering towels is a small price to pay for all the fun they had, and how great it felt.

We baked special cakes in the microwave in large mugs we selected and purchased. We strung beads on shoestrings and made devotion bracelets for ourselves and others. We played “restaurant” with great entertainment. They played with our little dog until he was begging for a nap, but he loved it. As with most camping trips, I will never be the same. Bet they won’t either.

The youngest niece brought a delicious recipe from home she had tried. She taught us how to make it, and it was absolutely awesome.  Here is her recipe:

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