Thursday, June 28, 2007

Getting ready for "Camp Jofus"

Every year we go camping in Vermont so you'd think I'd start looking for coolers and bug spray and sleeping bags in advance. Nope. Just came from Target where I cleaned out the dollar section's supply of flashlights. I'm not really a camper, but the kids love Camp Joseph so much that I happily go once a year. But I don't happily pack. Most years Dave is out of town until 5 minutes before we leave, so I have to make endless lists and try to assemble all the crap needed to stay outdoors for 3 days.

Last year when, after I packed EVERYTHING, not just packed all the stuff for 6 people into bags, but loaded the car, we get up there and Dave says, "So where are the matches? You did bring matches didn't you?" As if HE had made lists and gone to Target and packed a whole cooler full of Diet Coke. "Only people who packed things can complain about what is and isn't here," I said, threatening to turn Hulk. So Dave and Jonah, then 9, decide to McGyver it. Joe finds a bug catcher with a magnifying glass lid and suggests they start a fire with that. Aren't grown ups always warning against the dangers of magnifying glasses? They were so proud and refused to use the matches that I scrounged from the missionary couple who run the place. (I must admit my Mormon upbringing makes it very hard for me to say, "Excuse me, but do have any matches?" as if matches must equate smoking. How funny that long fireplace matches have warm fuzzy associations but matchbooks evoke images of Camels and seedy bars...)

The best part is how much fun the kids have. They roam the place and I don't worry. They love finding salamanders under rocks, newts and frogs and snakes in the pond, dragon flies all over. Then they love to "play" with them (aka torture them). That some fire starting bug catcher once served as a catalyst for frog stew when all the caught critters got fried under that magnifying glass. I guess Jonah knew from experience how powerful that lens could be. Speaking of lenses, I have to be careful not to live behind camera. Each moment up there is a potential "Kodak moment." But I've found that when I witness things thru the view finder, I am a bit removed from the real moment. I'm no longer a participant but a recorder. And as much as I love documenting their exciting moments, I love even more being part of them.