We’re camping again.
With our friends.
This is our 25th year together.
I think we could be considered family by this time.
Our kids were raised together.
We’ve celebrated birthdays, weddings, births and job promotions together.
We’ve cried together over each-other’s tragedies.
And for one week each and every year, we sit in the woods and talk and laugh and relax.
And remember all of the other times.
Particularly ‘that’ time.
The week it poured.
And I mean poured.
For five days straight.
We had twelve kids with us, ranging in age from three to fifteen.
All of their usual activities had been rained out.
And the all-important ‘swimming in the lake’ was not even an option.
Electronic entertainment was in its infancy.
What could we do?
There were board games. Several of the kids got really, really good at Rack-o and Chess.
And Old Maid.
But even those got old after a couple of days.
Remember when I said that electronic entertainment was in its infancy? Well, young as it was, it came to our rescue.
My husby had installed, by means of a couple of bungee cords, a small VCR/TV combination in our large van.
With eight kids to haul on long trips, it had been invaluable.
On the morning of third day of deluge, he emerged from the van with a huge grin.
And a whole box of VCR tapes. The entire Beverly Hillbillies series.
We grabbed it as if it were a life line.
Which it probably was.
“Kids!” I said, “Wanna watch some TV?”
Amidst loud cheers, all of them piled into the van and The Beverly Hillbillies filled the small screen.
For the next three days, after a quick scan of the still-spongy sky, they dove into the van and, with rain drumming on the roof, they happily stayed glued to the antics of Jed, Jethro, Ellie-May and Granny.
Episode after episode.
First in black and white, then in colour.
We parents would watch, in indulgent and relieved amusement, as the van bobbed up and down when the theme song came on.
‘Come and listen to my story ‘bout a man named, Jed.’
Ahhhh . . . memories.
Now, when we camp, it is usually just the four of us.
With a bonus grandchild or two.
Oh, occasionally, one or more of the next generation will stop in with their kids.
But mainly, it’s just us.
And, as we talk and laugh, we remember.
When the whole tribe was there.
The rain drumming down.
And The Beverly Hillbillies staving off cabin fever.