Labor Day is here. Summer is “unofficially” over. The heat index was 102 degrees on Monday, so I believe it will be fine for folks to wear white a little while longer. Forget about Southern etiquette and just try to stay cool.
We’re not going to do anything except — wife Danny told me over the weekend — except sit in lounge chairs in the backyard and eat! Joking, maybe, I don’t know. We do like to eat!
We were riding down the road when the revelation was made, discussing not doing anything on this last holiday of summer. We also reminisced a bit about past holidays, like Monday’s, when we had a camper and camped a lot.
I said something along the lines of wishing we still had the camper so that we might pull it somewhere for the weekend. Danny responded, in part, that some of the places that we had camped were so isolated we are lucky we lived to tell about them, and we nodded in agreement.
“Camping ‘is’ more fun when it’s not really crowded and you don’t have Baby going round and round,” she added in a sarcastic tone that only she and I would understand and we laughed.
It was the year 1996, Spring Break, was the occasion, and a camping trip to Grenada Lake was the plan. The next thing I remember after we got there was my wife asking “why are we doing this?”
I’m not certain of the answer I produced, but it clearly wasn’t correct.
“No really, why are we doing this?” she asked again as she waved her hand directing my attention to the view immediately in front of our seats.
“Look around,” she said emphatically, as the dirty little snotty-nosed girl — not a member of our family — zoomed around us in her battery powered, very loud, Barbie Jeep.
I know those were her words, because I wrote about it then, and found them in the archives this week to remind myself why we are better off sitting in lounge chairs in the backyard...eating!
That year the weather started out too nice. There were campers and boats and tents on top of campers and boats and tents and cars. There were young men and young women and their children, and old men and old women and more little children, and big children and bicycles and tricycles and peddle cars and Barbie Jeeps and noise, and noise, and more noise.
It was not peaceful at all.
And then there was Baby. Danny said he was probably a cousin of our camping neighbors and that Baby was a family nickname. I figured there was a pretty good chance he was a cousin/boyfriend. Then the woman-child asked Baby to ask her momma if they could go for a ride and listen to music, and that pretty much confirmed any suspicions.
About that time the battery-powered Jeep zoomed by again and a bike rider flew through from the other direction and then it began to rain.
Baby and his girlfriend’s brother Junior got soaking wet in their tent which was right in front of our camper door. The woman-child and her momma and daddy got wet in their camper to our left, their aunt somebody and uncle something got wet in their pop-up to our right and all of their wet stuff got piled on our picnic table and grill to dry out all the next day.
“Let’s go home,” Danny said about 4:00 p.m.
“No,” I replied, “we can do this,” as I put some ribs on a little portable grill I kept in the camper.
The radio announcer said 75 percent chance of more rain by morning as I hung our tablecloth over the truck bed to dry.
“Let’s go home,” Danny begged again.
“No,” I replied. “We can make it.”
The smell of pork roasting on the grill began to infiltrate the air as another member of the woman-child’s family backed his boat up to the backside of our camper and the battery-powered Jeep buzzed between me and the table one last time.
“Let’s go home,” I said to my wife, and her face lit up like a child’s.
So, no, we won’t be camping this year. We sold the camper 15 years ago to some workers helping rebuild after Hurricane Katrina. I do remember that those ribs were really good when we got home and dried out. They will be again this weekend as we sit in those lounge chairs, in the backyard....eating!
Y’all enjoy your holiday, and fix you something good to eat too!