I’m home and warm, about which, despite my recent when-is-fall-coming whinging, I am very happy. Don’t get me wrong; we had a GREAT time. We laughed and supped and solved each other’s issues and the world’s problems at least a hundred and one times. We also FROZE.
Poor Pint didn’t seem to understand why all of a sudden we had morphed into a bunch of cackling vagabonds living rough, getting dirty, and huddling in front of scarily popping flames for warmth. He looked at me quizzically with teeth chattering, wondering if this was how we were going to live from now on and trying to decide if he should abdicate the Family Dillon and become a Tisdale or King or Allen, all of whom had either heated trailers, campers, or RVs, instead of the jumble of tents and vehicles that formed our negative star lodging. Touring our circle, he entered and sized up each and every shelter, including the other tents (some had awesome other-kids’ toys and pop tarts, and two had new puppies) but in the end he decided to stay with us if only out of pity.
Daytime thankfully brought sunshine and warmth, with temperatures in the high sixties and low seventies. We celebrated with games and conversation aplenty, cracking each other up every 2.3 seconds. We played Scrabble (note Jessica’s look of frustration; I was over-helping her).
Erin soon had the game mastered thanks to a little Pint-sized help.
We played Dominoes once Chrissy refreshed our memories on the rules. (Not only is she efficient, she has the rules of every camp game committed to memory.)
Some of our more erudite teens even broke out the chess set. Pint served as both referee and critic, urging them each to gain better control of their centers and use their queens wisely.
I knit… and knit and knit. I do believe a reference was made to my fondness of warm and soft balls (of yarn of course). I had no idea to what they were referring.
I also got a hair cut. Jennifer, who I met this camping trip for the very first time and I’m already in mad love with, is a professional hair stylist. She did a darned good job, especially considering the blustery day which constantly blew my fine hair around and the sewing scissors that she was forced to use as her only implements. Plus, it was free, always an awesome bonus.
On Turkey Day proper, Steve barbecued the turkey as always in his official turkey barbequing outfit complete with mandatory frilly apron.
Obviously, there is a science to properly cooking a bird en plein air and, for this, Scoutmaster Steve has his PhD. For this, I love him madly, that and a twenty plus year friendship that like the finest of fine wines, just gets better with age.
First, examine the cauldron of promised deliciousness. Use a shovel to rearrange its contents and scrape, but never completely clean, its grate.
Stuff the turkey cavity with oranges; this adds to the later juicy deliciousness. Point to raw bird. See bird; see bird get turkey pimples from the cold.
Hours later, with proper Steven Karl, BD (Barbecue Doctor) supervision, the main event is on. Yum.
Call in the troops (when did all of our children get so big?)
Richie managed to worm his way to the front of the line and celebrate this special day by expressing his inner maturity, or lack thereof. Nice going, my friend. If it wasn’t for that whole one-lung thing, I’d be up your arse for that one.
A very delicious meal was had by all almost forty of us.
Shortly after this, we cleaned up while the kids hit the pool and Jacuzzi. Darkness fell and so did we, sound asleep by 6:30. (I’ll blame it on our full tummies and not the fact that we had been drinking since 8 am, Steve’s it’s-okay-to-start-imbibing time.) The kids sans Anthony who went to bed with the rest of us, returned to a dark camp with no fire and thought we had all gone “to a disco or something” and left them all behind. Hmmm. First of all, I haven’t gone to a disco since the eighties and secondly, if I had a sudden while-camping hankering to go, I could not go un-showered, un-madeup, and in the clothes I had been wearing for two days.
Later, I might tell you about a few dicier moments, how Katie Scarlett expressed her inner hidden Jew by wandering barefoot in the desert at 3am in 40 degree temperatures searching for the bathroom and almost crying when she lost her way while being stalked by coyotes, how Hunky Husband became a superhero by saving Steve from falling in the fire and then lost that status in a I-so-have-blackmail-on-the-man way, or how even dirt became tear-jerkingly funny.
For now though, I will be thankful for the time we had, for having wonderful friends to share a meaningful holiday with, and for the impromptu visits of both the Amazing Matt and Brother Steve as well as the entire Sammons family, more long term good friends we were afraid we would not see and then thrilled that we were. I am doubly thankful we have a roof over our heads and shelter from the elements and am able to appreciate it all the more for living without it for a few days. Once again, Happy Thanksgiving.