What you really need

There is nothing like a little kid to remind you about what matters.

My two older grandsons had never been camping, so their dad and I decided to take them on a one-night camping trip.

At their home everyone speaks Japanese, so their English is definitely in developmental stage. Like everyone’s …

The plan was to drop them off at preschool on Thursday and pick them up at noon to drive up to the Angeles National Forest. They were so excited about the trip.

Note: Adults should not need a two-week excursion to Fiji to get excited about going somewhere.

At school that morning they ran up to their teacher. My oldest grandson said, “Camp!”

“Oh, you went camping last weekend?”

His response was one of the best and most concise expressions of English in the history of English. He said, “No. Camp. Fire. Fire sticks. Marshmallow. Do.”

Note: Adults can speak simply and clearly if they really want to.

We reached the campground and the boys jumped out of the car. They began scouring the campsite and immediately found discarded bottle caps. After a couple of hours they had a giant collection of them.

Note: Adults can find interesting things all around them if they only look. No shopping necessary.

We made hotdogs and then started a big campfire with the “fire sticks.” The boys enjoyed the hotdogs with amazing enthusiasm, and when they got to toast the marshmallows it was as if the finest dessert on earth had been prepared.

Note: Adults don’t need fancy food.

After the sun went down we all crawled into the tent. Everyone was very tired and cold. We lay there and slept deeply. Sometime very late that night, about 3 AM, my eldest grandson awoke, opened his eyes, and sighed happily to no one in particular, “It is so warm!” And then he went back to sleep, snuggled against his brother and dad.

Note: Adults should always snuggle.

The next morning up they popped and out of the tent they hopped. It was very cold. Instead of complaining, they ran over to the other side of the campground where the sun was shining and where it was warm. They sat on a rock and for a long time watched birds drinking water out of a small puddle.

Note: Adults should know that the best television is nature.

Next, we had hot chocolate and cereal. I broke camp, we packed up the car, and before leaving we all took a walk up a long dirt trail. The boys ran, skipped, and found countless rocks and sticks with which to play. The walk finished, we got in the car and drove home.

“When can we go again?” they asked.


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15 thoughts on “What you really need”

  1. One of the best things a family can do is go camping! Glad you went, and thanks for sharing this.

  2. Our families live on the East & Gulf coasts. The cost to fly to spend holidays with them was prohibitive. So we made our own traditions. We spent many a Thanksgiving camping at Pfeiffer-Big Sur state park, when we could just cruise up and claim site #86, under a fine canopy of middle-aged redwoods (barely 500 ft. tall), within a stone’s throw of the bathrooms, and close enough to the Big Sur River that its burbling will lull you to sleep. Thanks for this reminder of some of the best family time I’ve ever had. I love how much you get that.

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