The sweet days of August

The sweet days of August

We were camping in 1975, hiking to Sunset Rock (from left): Mom, Dad, Liz, myself.

Camping with Dad, Mom and Liz were the happiest times for me. Dad worked hard as a house painter, one of a two-man team that worked in many estates. When it came time for vacation, Dad had only one week. But it was a week with family, during August, the week of my birthday.

Camping involved a lot of work for our parents, but to us kids it was all fun. The four of us would sleep in a tent secured on a wooden platform. We moved in, inflated the mattresses, then protected the tent with a plastic cover to keep the rain out. Blue jays greeted us early in the morning with their screeches, along with the little pitter patter of chipmunks across our platform. After breakfast, we hiked. We dragged fallen tree limbs and logs to our campsite. After lunch, we swam in ice cold Ore Pit. Then back for an evening meal cooked on a hibachi. We had potatoes, fresh corn, chicken and blueberries we had picked. Then we went back on the field to play volleyball or Frisbee. When it got dark, Dad lit a fire and we sat on logs roasting marshmallows listening to him tell stories from his childhood.

When the week ended, I felt so sad to go home, tears would come. We exhausted ourselves and our muscles ached. Dad, who worked hard all year, took us camping knowing all that, but he did it anyway. We miss Dad a lot; he died in 2009.

Rosemarie Clardy, Candler, Haywood EMC

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