Stories from the Stringam Family Ranches of Southern Alberta

From the 50s and 60s to today . . .



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Sunday, July 14, 2013

Hillbilly Camping

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.


10 comments:

  1. There was a childhood vacation somewhere in our southern states I barely remember except being in laundromats drying everything, including sleeping bags, and mother tell someone afterwards, It rained 14 days out of 14. We were tent campers.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. 14 out of 14?! Oh, you definitely win the 'soggy bottom' prize!

      Delete
  2. Electronic equipment isn't ALL bad!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You're so right. Sometimes, it preserves sanity!!!

      Delete
  3. 12 kids, one caravan. and the Beverly Hillbillies. Thank goodness for VCRs and tapes.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh, the things things you are grateful for on a camping trip!

      Delete
  4. Didn't we almost blow out the suspension one time?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Quite possibly. With everyone bobbing in unison . . .

      Delete
  5. That's awesome! Reminds me of the times as a child when my mother would place a portable black and white television in the back of the car so I could watch Sesame Street. Of course back then, "portable" meant the size of a carry-on piece of luggage...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Your mother was definitely ahead of her time!

      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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