I returned yesterday from a weekend camping trip with my twin grandsons, and today am sorting out laundry, supplies and thoughts. It was apparent from the get-go that I’d forgotten a few important items: a pillow, the case for my glasses, a bottle of Excedrin, cups, and a large fork and spoon. (If you’ve never herded sausage around a skillet using a spatula, it’s not to be missed!) All of these should have been on my Master List but as last-minute arrivals were easy to overlook. To balance these shortcomings I included three coats that were absolutely unnecessary, and we filled the 4Runner to the brim, with the Kelty tent and camp chairs riding on the roof rack.
I’d crossed my fingers that things would go well on our venture, and simple as that—they did. No ten-year-old tantrums, no arguments, no sudden injuries to either limb or psyche—how did that happen? True, they weren’t greatly helpful, but did (mostly) what I asked of them when they weren’t acting exactly like ten-year-olds on their first-ever camping trip. The only boy I really kept an eye on was—me. President Clinton was criticized for micro-managing the office, and I tried not to offer too much information (all the mountains were named Snowy) nor too many empty threats (I think they discussed, somewhere early in the trip, how Grandpa’s a pushover). I answered their questions about what they were seeing, surprised at what they already know, and told a funny story or two after we’d retired into the tent. Mostly, I stayed out of the way, letting them discover that their legs were shorter than mine and it took more than fifteen minutes to hike the loop trail inside Fort Rock. They had water, cookies, and disposable cameras in their packs, and seemingly unlimited time ahead, and you can’t ask for more than that at any age.