Stories from the Stringam Family Ranches of Southern Alberta

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Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Happy Campers

We love to camp.
We do it every year, rain or shine.
Usually rain.
Sigh.
We have used the same little tent trailer forever.
It was built in 1974.
We bought it in 1981.
It has kept the rain off of us.
Our six children.
Numerous foster children.
And now a new generation of grandchildren.
It has been almost completely re-built in that time.
We had a mouse infestation due to a forgotten bag of oatmeal, left through the winter.
We once lost the entire undercarriage out on Vancouver Island.
Had a bear come in through the back door in Slave Lake, Alberta.
Without knocking, I might add.
Replaced numerous tires. (Due, mainly to the fact that the tires they kept selling us were made out of that forgotten bag of oatmeal…)
And we lent it to our eldest son. (Who did more damage than everything else, combined.)
Still it keeps on going.
Okay, sure, it really doesn’t look like much anymore.
The canvas has faded somewhat from its glory days.
It leans a little in whichever direction the wind is blowing.
And the cushions are fast getting to the point of no return.
But it has never leaked.
And that’s something to be said in the places where we camp.
We love our old trailer.
Like us, it has aged.
More or less gracefully.
And it is comfortable.
But the other evening, a sleek new fifth-wheel trailer, pulled by an equally new and pristine pickup truck, pulled into the site next to ours.
Parents and teenagers piled out and started to set up camp.
It took seconds.
Then they gathered at the front of their site and glanced over the neighbourhood.
We smiled.
Until one of the teenagers was overheard saying, “Oh great. We’re right next to the hillbillies.”
Hillbillies? Us?
I looked at our venerable old trailer. At our open-air camp kitchen. Our perfectly-strung (though rather ratty) tarp and our ‘can-we-get-one-more-camp-out-of-them’ camping chairs. Our bird’s nest lamp that kept shedding its duct-tape shade until I finally gave up and tossed said shade into the garbage at the end of last year’s camp.
And then I realized that we are hillbillies.
But, despite what they see, comfortable.

And happy.

16 comments:

  1. Hillbillies are great. They are always happy. ;)

    ReplyDelete
  2. Not in debt and not judgemental. Not "keeping up with the Joneses". Content with having what is needful not "greed-ful". When it is time for you to retire and travel non-stop, you will have your new (for you) camper/trailer and you still won't care what anyone else has! All those things are nice to look at - period! Happy - indeed you are! <3

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh, so true! I definitely like how you think!

      Delete
  3. Don't worry about what anyone else thinks....those teenagers will soon be spending most of their time at your camp cause you folks know how to have fun.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oddly enough, they spent a lot of their time peeking over to see what we were doing . . .

      Delete
  4. Uh-oh. Somebody needs to learn to look further than the cover on the book... sigh.

    We are of the "use it up, wear it out, made do" mentality also. Does that make us hillbillies? :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. There was a lot more laughter coming from our campsite . . .
      And that does make you hillbillies. Join us any time!

      Delete
  5. Replies
    1. And just slightly off-putting . . . :)

      Delete
  6. You kind of got me when you mentioned that a bear came in the back door. Please elaborate. That has to be quite a story, and you lived to tell it. Wow!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I will tell that story! It was a bit of an adventure!

      Delete
  7. This sounds e heaven to me! I love camping but haven't gone in 2 years. Boy, do I miss it. And by the way, I LOVE hillbillies and would be happy to join you any time!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You and your crew are welcome any time!!! There's plenty of room . . .

      Delete
  8. How rude of that bear to not knock before entering!
    My preferred method of camping would be a top-notch 5 star hotel, but since they're way out of my league, I've never been camping.
    Hillbillies are more fun than the keep-up-with-the-Joneses types.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You're so right. Someone definitely slipped up in the whole 'teaching bears manners' department! Who do I speak to about that?

      Delete

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Diane was born and raised on one of the last of the great old Southern Alberta ranches. A way of life that is fast disappearing now. Through her memories and stories, she keeps it alive. And even, at times, accurate . . .

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