Monday, August 20, 2012


Our annual visit to camp is in full swing.  The lake is crystal clear and the sky is impossibly wide and blue.  The fountain is cranking out mint chip milkshakes.  We've walked for miles with old friends, getting caught up as we tramped along pine covered trails.  We glimpse the kids from a distance, screaming and laughing and splashing around the place in packs.  Every child has a plastic cabin key hanging around their neck, symbolizing their new-found freedom to roam at will, and to pull every crawdad they can find onto the dock for closer examination.  The air is fresh and just exactly warm enough for reading the Sunday NY Times on the porch after breakfast.  There's ping pong and hat making, chanting and silly counselors and funyaks to paddle to the beach.  Soon there will be bingo and inner tubing and outings with lemonade and ice cream at the end.  Not to mention campfires with s'mores and guitars and singing with our whole family together as the sun goes down and thousands of stars come out in the sky.  

And yet, when my sister asked my niece what her favorite part of camp was, none of this came up.

My niece:  I like when we drive up there in Auntie Shar's car*.
My sister:  Really? Is it because you are with your cousins and you love them?
My niece:  No.  I like the part where we stop at the gas station.
My sister:  The gas station?
My niece:  Yes. When we stop at the gas station, everybody gets candy**.


* She has clearly forgotten about this drive.  But then again, I'm trying to forget about last year.
** What my son said (after he stopped laughing):
"Completely true! If we drove to Burbank and I asked if I could get an Icee and a pack of Skittles, you would be like, um, NO. But if it's on I5 somewhere outside of Bakersfield...? No problem. Have two."

Yep. So busted.