It's not what you gather, but what you scatter, that tells what kind of a life you have lived.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Goin' Campin'

My husband and I are leaving early tomorrow morning to go camping for a couple of days. We're headed south to Lake Como, with a visit planned to a ghost town nearby and lots of fishing. That's fishing for him, not me. I read or knit or write or draw, but I do not fish! I help if he needs it, you know, holding the net or the stringer or such, but not actually fishing. I leave that up to him. He fillets them when he catches them, too. I will cook them, though. I really like fresh fish. I used to hate fish until I tasted my first fresh-from-the-stream trout, (I think they were trout) and now I've actually grown a taste for them. Not all of them, though. Catfish is usually to "fishy" for me, as are a few others that I don't know the name of. Unless the catfish is Cajun and fixed by Dottie or Abe Manual in Milton, Tennessee. That is the best fish I ever tasted in my life! They cook true Cajun style, not all hot and over-spiced, but with a nice spicy flavor that lets the true taste of the fish come through. Man, oh man, that's somethin' good! It will make you do the Louisiana boogie! Dottie also serves up a Banana Split Cake to die for. Absolutely scrumptious!

Back to the camp outing. This will be our first in Montana, and its been pretty warm lately, so we packed only light blankets. Then tonight, it got quite chilly. I had to close the front door while we were watching TV because I got cold. And I never get cold! So I'm thinking that I better pack a quilt or two so we don't freeze. But I like the cold, so we won't stay home because of it. We'll just pack a little warmer. And I'm really looking forward to that Dutch oven chicken and potatoes I'll be fixing! It's one of my favorite meals, and we haven't been camping for a long time, so I've missed it. My mouth is watering just thinking about it.

We've never been to Lake Como, but we hear tell that it's nice. There are two or three campgrounds, and I hope running water and a bathroom. We're taking plenty of water just in case, but I really don't want to dig a latrine! I'm pretty sure there are facilities there. If not, we may go somewhere else to camp and just go fishing there. Gotta have a potty! Have you ever camped rough? I have an uncle who was a tree-topper in the forest above Sacramento, California, and they had logger's camp every summer. My parents and I visited one summer for a week and I had so much fun. They call it rough camping, but they take everything up there! Even the kitchen sink! My aunt had three Army-sized tents put together for her "camp house". One was the bedroom, complete with a huge feather bed, one was the kitchen, complete with a wood burning stove, and the last one was the living room, rocking chair and all. She actually had more living space at camp than she had at home!

But the potty was the point of this whole long spiel. It was a hole dug in the ground with a toilet placed over it, and a refrigerator box, maybe two, around it. Aunt Irene insisted on privacy. So... we had been there for about a day, maybe two, when my dad had a little "accident". He was in the habit of leaning on the wall when he was taking a leak at home, and he forgot that those walls up there were only cardboard. He fell through, knocked down the wall, and gave everybody a good laugh! He was lucky he didn't really hurt himself when he fell over the toilet. Meanwhile, no one could go to the bathroom until repairs were made.

Of course, one of the favorite pastimes at logging camp was drinking. They went through more beer after work than I had ever seen in my life up to that point! Some of them were loud and rowdy, but mostly they just drank while they played cards and told stories of past camps. I have a picture of me, I think I was about 11, in front of a giant pyramid of beer cans. It kept me busy and out of trouble for a long time. If I can find it, I will post it. Those are some good memories, because my dad was in the Air Force, and we lived all over the place and didn't get to be around family much. I think that's one of only 2 times I ever got to meet my Aunt Irene and Uncle Armond, and they were good people. I wish I had known them better.

As for camping, I have loved it since my first experience. I was in 5th grade, and interestingly enough, we were living in Great Falls, Montana, when I went camping for the first time. It was the Young Women's group from church, and I wasn't actually supposed to be there, because your were supposed to be at least 12 years old and I was only ten, but my mother went as craft director and my dad went as life guard, so I got to go, too. And it was primitive camp. We dug our own latrines, and lashed long branches to trees for the seat, hung blankets around the whole set-up and had a community bathroom. No showers, just the lake. We had grease pits, where we dumped our cooking grease, as well as our dish water, etc. and of course, we cooked over an open fire. I thought it was great! I learned how to build fires, do First Aid, cook over a fire, do lashing and carving, AND...... I learned how to make a fuzz stick! That was the best. If you don't know what a fuzz stick is, it is a little piece of a branch that you "fuzz" by taking your pocket knife and making little cuts all over it. They are used as fire starters, and they work really well. I may have to show my husband all about them this weekend. Of course, it won't be a big deal to him, but it will be a good memory for me. I also learned how to go snipe hunting. If you have never been snipe hunting, you haven't lived! There is a certain way to hunt a snipe, and I won't give it away here, but if you've never been, you need to ask a friend who likes to camp to take you snipe hunting. It's a blast!

Well, that's enough for tonight. When we get back, I'll tell you all about it. At least the good stuff, not the boring day-to-day stuff. We'll see if there's anything to tell. Remember this quote from Oscar Hammerstein, the "love in your heart wasn't put there to stay, love isn't love 'til you give it away." 'Night, Gramma G.

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