We camp. I blame the Scots.

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.

The End.

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.

The End.

Again.

……….

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.

……….

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ABOUT BETH WOOLSEY I'm a writer. And a mess. And mouthy, brave, and strong. I believe we all belong to each other. I believe in the long way 'round. And I believe, always, in grace in the grime and wonder in the wild of a life lived off course from what was, once, a perfectly good plan.
16 comments
  1. […] to ask you to keep this post on the down-low, folks. Shhhhh! ‘Cause we just got back from camping (and whining and tenting), and I still had a hankering for […]

  2. No Way!! Ok I think you might be following me or vice versa because that is where we were with 11 cousins less than a week ago!!!! If we were there at the same time sorry for the noise and craziness =-P

    1. We were the group where the kids were all running around moan “brains” being zombies!

      1. Ha! That’s hilarious! We actually felt like we should write apology notes to all of the adjacent campsites for dashing their hopes of a nice, quiet weekend at the beach. 😉 Next time, we’ll look for you.

  3. I am so very jealous you got to go camping! My dad is one of five kids and we used to take a family camping trip every year. I can’t tell you how many adults and kids there were, since half of the adults (including my Pappaw) acted like kids the whole time we were there. SO much fun. We haven’t done it in probably a decade, I really miss it.

    1. YEP! We don’t believe chronological age should factor into who gets to act like a child, either. Sounds like you have a family where we’d fit, Angie. 🙂

  4. Wow! I wish I had known that it was okay to enlist the help of extended family when I took my five camping when they were little. Even my husband bailed in those days–but he’s learning now to really enjoy camping. And, it took my daughter, her husband, and our granddaughters to convince him that he really, REALLY needed to give it a chance since his wife loves it so much. . . .

    1. Isn’t asking for help the HARDEST? I think so.

      I’m glad your husband is learning to enjoy camping. Don’t tell anyone, ’cause it’ll ruin my griping reputation, but I enjoy it, too. If it wasn’t for the packing and the cleaning up afterward, I’d LOVE it. 😀

  5. The photo of the 10 kids brought back memories of my mom and her friend and 10 kids all in a rented RV. Making a grand and glorious trip from California to Washington. On the way home, the RV was distinctly funky smelling. Since it had housed 10 kids for about a week or more, we decided that was the reason. Then we discovered the dead snake in a Band Aid box. One of the kids had decided to bring home his “friend” and knew the moms WOULDN’T GO FOR IT!!! So . . . ahhhh great memories 🙂

    1. I gasped! And then I laughed. This is SO something that would happen to us, Cindy. I suppose I can stop grumbling about Cael’s stick collection and be grateful he’s still stuck on inanimate objects, huh?

  6. Love it! As Lindsay says it, “living the dream” or in our family, “we’re going on an adventure”. Our grownup kids mock the adventure aspect now, but haven’t forgotten the goofiness as kids. And yep, we parents wonder why we pack up our whole house to go live in the woods and get all grubbed up and exhausted…but those memories are too wonderful for words. MSN

    1. Exactly, mama. See my note to Lindsay above.

  7. The first time I took my oldest camping (who is still younger than your youngest) he thought it was the greatest thing EVER. He was about 18 months old, and I still remember him taking a nap in the tent in the middle of an April day in Texas in the bright sun. We could see him in the tent from where were were all hanging out. He started wiggling around, and I knew wake up was imminent. As he sat up rubbing his eyes, he looked around with the hugest smile as if to say “WE ARE STILL HERE!!!” He is all boy, and so is the baby. We kept telling him that whole trip “You’re doing it Colden. You’re livin’ the dream!” It is now our motto to tell the kids when we are doing something exhausting for us, but something they will have memories of as adults and drag their kids along to do, too.

    That’s what y’all were doing. Livin’ the dream. Now take a vacation from your vacation!

    1. Love this, Lindsay. You brought back memories. …

      My mama took the words out of my mouth (below). My folks always told us we were “having an adventure!” when things were particularly awful and agonizing and memory-making, like the time we spent Christmas trapped in the pilots’ lounge at the airport. The memories are, actually, grand, but I particularly treasure “we’re having an adventure!” in the family lexicon… we still use it as a curse word… “farfuhlumping adventure.” 🙂

  8. Gorgeous photos. Hooray for Scottish ancestry. Great to hear you had a fabulous time. Sending laundry solidarity! xo

    1. I just started Load 8! It took me longer than I hoped to summit Mount Laundry, but victory is (almost) mine.

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