May 29, 2009
This last Memorial Day weekend was the first Memorial Day weekend that I can remember since we've been married that we've been able to do anything but baseball. First JD was coaching, then Athletes in Action and Fellowship of Christian Athlete's baseball teams' training, and then it was John's baseball tournaments. This year we had no such baseball obligations and so when we were invited to go camping with some families from church, we actually could say "Yes!" Of course we hadn't camped for eight years, since Kaitlin was not even one year old. We'd camped with our Sunday school class from our church twice a summer for a couple years back then. It was so fun to have the social aspect of camping. I'd grown up camping and loved it. JD grew up cabining and learned to appreciate camping. The first couple times we went camping we borrowed a tent. One time we borrowed my parents' canvas tent complete with metal poles. It was given to them by a military family when they worked in Eastern Europe. It was a regular military issue canvas palace. Nothing like the sleek pop up tents dotted around the campground. There were no set up instructions that came with this canvas beast, so our whole Sunday school class got involved with helping us try to set it up. We were the campground entertainment for the day. In fact, when it was time to take the group photo, everyone insisted that we take it in front of the Bickle Tent because it was such a funny memory. After the canvas tent experience we decided to invest in our own tent from the twenty-first century. We were pretty pumped up to use it the first time. Unfortunately we had a baseball game that prevented us from joining the group the first night. As we drove to the campground the second day, it began to rain. Still, we hoped that the rain would subside so that we could initiate our tent. As we pulled into the campground the rain fell harder and many of the families we knew were packing up their sites. One dry night was enough for them. Fortunately for us, there were a couple hardy families who remained. We were determined to use our new investment and set up camp despite the rain. The entire day we hovered underneath a tarp spread above a picnic table. Surely the rain would stop. It didn't. We had so much fun that it didn't matter that we'd spent the whole day under a tarp. As night came one of the hardy families decided they weren't hardy enough to spend the night in a tent in the rain, so they left us for their own warm beds. Now there were two families. Bedtime came and still no end of rain in sight. The other family went to bed in their tent with rivers running through it. We decided that maybe we weren't so determined to sleep in our new tent after all and went to sleep in the back of our Grand Voyager instead. That was the last time we'd gone camping until this last weekend. Our summer schedule and lack of camping enthusiast friends, prevented it. However, when Robin Lowe invited us to join some families in Lanesboro for camping, we jumped at the chance. Some of my favorite childhood memories were camping with other families. It's so fun to get out doors and have no television, no video games, just nature and people to entertain you. There were plenty of things for the kids to do. Sarah had her little playmates to keep her busy. John had some great boys to hang out with. And Kaitlin didn't have anyone her age, but the teenage girls took her under their wing, which was pretty much like heaven for Kaitlin. Lanesboro is right on the Root River Bike Trail, so on Sunday we biked to the next town and had a little Sharing Time. I shared the Grin Again Gang song that was pretty much mandatory campfire singing when I was growing up. David Lowe talked about how important friends are, and I'd have to agree. And there's nothing like camping to facilitate friendship. And this was a good group to befriend. I'm so glad they invited us. And I'm so glad we got to camp in our tent for the second time in eight years. (Well, technically we set it up in our backyard last summer. But that doesn't really count.) Hopefully it won't be that long until the next time we go camping again!
Posted by Anne Bickle