Press-Republican

Columns

June 5, 2011

Camping trip brings back fond memories

I'm writing this on Memorial Day while Kaye and I enjoy our first camping trip of the season at Cole's Creek near Waddington on the St. Lawrence River.

The sun is bright, and as we approached our camper after a brisk walk this morning, a fellow camper waved and yelled out, "It's finally summer!"

"Amen," I responded.

After a long spring of rain and flooding back home in Clinton County, the lack of storm clouds was a blessing.

Waxing nostalgic is easy at my age because there is a lot of nostalgia to wax about. I'll long remember the good times. We don't wallow in the past; we cherish it.

Camping memories offer us miles and miles of smiles. Our first experience involved a tag-along borrowed from our dear friend, the late Izzy Defayette. Our son-in-law Roger Wright spent many hours welding an old iron hitch to the undercarriage of our International Scout II and installing an electrical wiring harness for the camper.

With no experience, no sway bars and few instructions, we loaded kids, kit and caboodle and headed south toward northern Virginia with a map and a prayer.

Somewhere along the way, the offspring began to squabble in the back seat. When I twisted my head to chastise them, I inadvertently turned the wheel, and our entire rig began to swing and sway like Sammy Kaye.

While Kaye was busy saying Hail Marys, I struggled while the old Scout tipped up, first on the left side wheels, then on the others. Thank God, there was little traffic at the time, and we miraculously avoided a jackknife and/or a rollover. From that moment until we reached our destination, there was nary a peep in the back seat.

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