I haven't been camping in a long time, but it sure was easy to fall back into the simple groove of it this weekend.
We joined my sister's family and a few of their neighbors for a group camping trip. Once the tent was pitched and the beer was on ice and the kids had run off to play with other kids, Tom and I found ourselves faced with: Utter Serenity. Even the dogs were uncharacteristically relaxed.
How is it that such a rustic environment can feel so much more civilized than the suburbs?
We read, we talked, we ate when we were hungry and slept when we were tired. Schedules didn't apply. Watches were abandoned.
That right there is pure uncut contentment. (And yeah, Pam and Deb, that would be The Gargoyle - can't thank you enough for THAT recommendation!)
The first campfire started around dinner time. There is no match for the smell of a wood-fire. Eventually I was even able to almost forget about the really big snake they'd seen earlier.
Dinner cooked over the fire.
There were endless ghost stories from the kids.
And of course there was music.
And then the adults began to talk.
I remember this part well from my teens. We used to camp with a group of my dad's teacher friends and their families. One of those teachers was my English teacher and I still haven't completely lived down the essay I wrote for him which eloquently described campfire conversations about appendectomies and hysterectomies. I felt like, having been a part of those adult discussions, I knew more about hysterectomies than any sixteen year old girl had a right to know. I lamented the fact that no-one worried too much about 'little ears' around the campfire and on the evenings I saw fit to remain on the quiet side I could learn all sorts of things, not all of them age appropriate. I cautioned the adults on the presence of impressionable young 'uns. He shared the essay with the old 'uns (with my permission) and every now and then one of them still brings it up. As I am facing my own hysterectomy, several of those grown-ups from around the fire who are still in my life have reminded me of how lucky I am to have such a broad knowledge base going into it.
So surely the spokesperson for children's right to not hear grown up conversations would, as an adult herself, be extra dilligent about what was said around the campfire where the kids fell in an age range of 3-16, right?
Well, I WOULD HAVE, except...
One of the other mom's was talking about always using anatomically correct terms with her kids.
"We always taught them penis and vagina. We never used cutesie words like Mr. Crotchy."
I lost it. I had a couple few beers in me - it was late - I was uber-relaxed - for whatever reason, this was the funniest thing I'd ever heard.
"Mr. Crotchy? No one calls it Mr. Crotchy! Mr. Crotchy was your only alternative???" I dissolved into that sort of laughter where you become a little concerned that you might forget to breathe. When I did come up for air, I would just repeat, "Mr. Crotchy!" and dissolve all over again.
It doesn't get funnier than that.
Until one of the dads said, "So was it, like, Mr. Crotchy and the Snatchinator?"
Someone shoulda put a fork in me, 'cause I was done.
I think I can confidently vouch for the fact that it is impossible to die laughing, because if it were indeed possible to do so, I'd be writing this post from the great beyond.
I. Lost. My. Shit.
I'd hate to be one of those kids' English teachers next year when THAT shows up in someone's essay...