Beverly Beach, Oregon
We camp at the mercy of my extended family because, without the assisting army of grandparents and cousins, we simply don’t have the energy, expertise, vehicle space or motivation to move the Camping Mountain on our own.
And we camp because, using classic peer pressure techniques, my family makes us.
Yes, yes. I heard Nancy Reagan say it in the 1980’s:
Just Say No.
But then Nike was all pppsshhht!, and they bombarded us with
JUST DO IT!
Frankly, Nancy, Nike won. I’m captured by their bravado every time.
(To be fair, though, Nance, in addition to my JUST DO IT conversion, I’d like to buy the world a Coke and teach it how to sing. So I might have a tiny problem. I admit it.)
The things is, my family is Scottish. We drink, we’re made out of freckles, and we honor our forefathers. The ancestors dared each other to eat haggis and throw logs for fun whilst wearing no undies beneath their man-skirts. We dare each other to take legions of children camping. It’s equal parts gross-out fest, a test of brute strength, and risky exposure to the elements; also, you never know when you’re gonna catch a guy peeing on the landscaping. You see the parallels.
My family shows up every summer in our driveway with their We Don’t Care That You’re Being a Whiny Little Baby, Beth, We Mean Business faces on, and they toss our threadbare sleeping bags, broken bike helmets, and leaky coolers in their cars ’til the cars cry uncle, beg for mercy and limp off down the road. I gripe and moan that the effort involved in camping isn’t worth it, and then we load up five or six miscellaneous children, and we follow my family from our familiar wilderness into the new one.
What can I say? You see this bridge at our campsite?
Yeah. If my family jumps off it, I’ll feel the cool breeze on my plummeting body soon enough, ’cause God knows I’m jumping, too. That’s how we roll in my family.
Or that’s how we jump.
Or that’s how we camp in 50-degree Oregon weather.
FIFTY DEGREES, you guys. It was fifty shades of freaking COLD.
In conclusion, we camp. And I blame the Scots.
Except to say, we had a ridiculous amount of very messy fun.
And ten kids is a lot of kids.
And cousins make the world a better place.
And Oregon is truly gorgeous.
But not as gorgeous as them.
And I might — just maybe I will — go again next year.
P.S. I usually lie when I say “the end.”
P.P.S. There was an inappropriate sausage joke hoping to get a word in somewhere back there around the haggis, but, seriously, we just got home yesterday, and I am Too Tired to make it. That should tell you exactly how tired I am.
P.P.P.S. I have to go now. I’m only at the base camp of Mount Laundry, and I have a LONG CLIMB ahead of me ’cause I’m hoping to summit before sunset.
P.P.P.P.S. I might be using you to procrastinate a tiny bit on the laundry. I hope you understand. I want you to know I’m willing to return the favor.
P.P.P.P.P.S. Special thanks to Papa, Nana, Melissa Anne, Webb, Jen, Nayfan, Weswee, Uncle M and Auntie D for making our camping – and family – dreams come true. We all know we couldn’t do it without you.