Every time I come to this blog I take a moment to look at the family group shot. It is my family on one of our camping trips. We didn't take weekend camping trips-- we went on vacation every summer for 4 weeks. This was because my dad, being a Methodist minister, had to get the heck out of Dodge to avoid phone calls, visits, and any kinds of problems that might come up with his parishioners that would mean he was no longer on vacation.
Back then ministers were barely paid a living wage, much like teachers now. Ministers now do quite well salary-wise, plus they still get free housing and many other perks that make it pretty good employment. But all those years ago, it was macaroni and cheese, one car, one church dress and just two or three school dresses, and everything bought on sale, if at all.
So camping during this long vacation was an economic necessity. My dad doesn't look like he's enjoying himself, does he? My mom, as always, looks sweet, kind and gentle. I remember my dad getting stressed out a lot on these vacations.
It was a lot of work packing for a month-long camping trip. Setting up and taking down the tent, preparing and cooking food on the Coleman cook stove, blowing up air mattresses (the old-fashioned way--no pumps), digging the trench around the tent every time it was set up, driving hundreds of miles from one state to the next so that we girls could see this beautiful country we live in.
Not that we appreciated any of it. During the drives, my sisters and I would sleep, read, argue and whine about how bored we were. Once we got to the campground, we'd run off to explore and leave my parents with all the work. Really, I don't know how they tolerated us.
In this picture, my mom is holding the youngest, we two middle girls are standing there posing, eyes closed, in our matching cowgirl outfits (I'm the one who is not scowling), and our oldest sister is taking the picture with her little Brownie camera.
I love this photo. It brings to mind those summer vacations. Thoughts of my dad who passed away eight years ago, and of my mom who is 93 and still sweet, kind and gentle.
Happy Mother's Day, my beautiful mom!! Thank you for making my childhood a place where cherished memories happened daily.