Books Read in 2007
CAMPING WITH THE BLACKFORDS
20 October 2007
"Cousins Day" is having lots of spillover effect. Third generation cousins are talking about having their own sleepovers; Peach, Kathy and I are talking about putting out a cookbook of food and drink recipes from Cousins Day; and now it appears that the women of our beloved "Pi�ata Group," the group of friends from our college days, are going to try a sleepover.
In conjunction with the Pinata Women deciding to try a "cousins day," we've started a group chat on line. Whereas we usually only contacted each other to pass along some news or a joke or a funny picture, now we've started group conversations and are having a wonderful time not only commenting on current events, books, television, etc., but also reminiscing about times past.
The latest memories concern camping with The Blackfords (Char & Mike).
"The Blackfords and our family almost always had camping crisis," wrote Jan, not officially part of The Pinata Group, but a longtime friend of the Blackfords, and thus invited into our newly formed women's circle. I had reminded her that we were with them during that terrible lightning storm when the 13 of us had to take refuge in an abandoned outhouse (fortunately a 2-holer). I've posted this photo before:
[This was taken by the pregnant idiot who was standing out in the rain while lightning struck the ground just a couple of yards from her. We will not publish her name here because I don't want to admit to being so stupid.]
"The Blackfords and EVERYONE always had a camping crisis!!!" I wrote back to Jan.
Michele was the first to weigh in with her memories.
"My favorite story was, of course, in Mendocino. Started to rain overnight, Char and Mike et al. wisely packed up early in the a.m. Sykes and Havels, however, blithely (and erroneously) assumed it would let up, and were ultimately unable to get the cars out of the mud.
"Walt and Richard graciously volunteered to walk down to the neighbors to call a tow truck, where they were greeted with a warm fire and hot coffee.
"Bev and I were left with the kids, including Ned with a rapidly dissolving leg cast, valiantly attempting to light the Coleman stove. Somewhere I have a favorite photo that Bev took of me by the yet-to-be ignited stove, under 4 layers of dripping clothes, holding up the remnants of the Coleman lantern box stating 'Keep from Moisture'."
I reminded Michele that Walt and I had also brought along Jeff, our faithful sheltie, who was on his very first camping trip. Our second dog had just died and we felt now that we only had one dog, we could take him camping. Jeff stood there, trembling with cold, water dripping off his fur, looking at me as if to say "why in the world did you bring me here?"
"We all knew that the rain clouds would follow the Blackfords, but so did a lot of fun times," wrote Jeri D.
Pat chimes in: "I remember lots of rainy day camping trips. Of course the weather cleared once the Blackfords left. Yes, for a while they had a rain cloud over camping trips."
I don't think we had rain in the Nevada desert the Memorial Day weekend when we never saw another car on the road for most of the 3 days. In fact, we never saw pavement. We were driving down back roads off of back roads and even, at one point, a dry river bed. We were lost (we were always lost) and Mike & Walt got out to ask what we still are certain were Basque sheepherders how to get where we were going.
We were visiting abandoned ghost towns that even ghosts had long since abandoned. None of this gussied-up-for-company faux ghost town crap. Mike wanted the real deal and the farther from pavement that we could get, the better he liked it. When we finally ended our travels and returned to the highway, Char decided to kiss the pavement.
And yes, Mike & Walt, we would still have run out of gas on Pole Line Rd. if we had skipped the side trip for ice cream cones! (That argument has been going for more than 40 years.)
We laughed so much during those years. We were miserable most of the time, but laughing so much we didn't realize it.
As the stories and memories from the Pinata women continue to pour forth, Jan writes, "the stories are almost reruns of our experiences camping with Blackfords, who despite five little children were always early and organized even in the worst of times.....and when Cam was tiny and fussy and mom could not calm him, Char stuck a big fat dill pickle in his mouth and he was quiet forever...I would guess he was about 4 mo. old!"
Next time I'll tell the story of Blackwell's corners and the kids playing and sliding down on the sign that said "sensitive government equipment--stand five feet back."
PHOTO OF THE DAY