The Last Man Standing

We went for the annual camp-out this past weekend. I expected a small crowd and a somber mood considering it was our first gathering on the lake since my dear aunt left this world last June and this was her thing, she loved it.

Only thirty five or forty of us were in attendance so the crowd was small but the mood was far from somber. I should have known better than to think that.

We do not dwell on sorrow. No, we mustn’t… we cannot.  And we did not. Instead we laughed and reminisced about our rambunctious youth spent on the shores of Navarro Mills.  A time when our numbers were more, a time when strength and stamina ran hard through our veins, a time when we were too confident to recognize the gift.

Remembering makes us aware of our weakness but we remember anyway because it also brings us comfort. These are my memories:

I remember tents dotting the landscape, fried eggs on an open campfire, horse shoes clanking, blankets of bluebonnets, chasing birds along the banks and walking for miles in the sweltering heat. Swimming in the murky water, boat rides, the smell of roasted marshmallows and fishing along the shoreline. I remember crystal clear nights and counting stars until we fell asleep, long walks to the toilet, frigid dawns stealing slumber, and anxiously awaiting the next sunrise so we could do it all again.

With nostalgia I watch our children and grandchildren between sneaking stares at the last man standing (my father’s baby brother) and hope they understand what this gathering silently implies, these things you must remember.

10 thoughts on “The Last Man Standing

  1. What a great way to get together with your family! Some of my fondest memories are of our family gatherings. I would look forward to them each year. Sadly they sort of fell to the wayside when I was in my early teens. But I still remember them as if they just happened. Your uncle looks like he would be the last man standing and then some.

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    • Thank you Roy. Traditions tend to do that (fall by the wayside) but hopefully they are replaced with new ones to leave the next generation fond memories. Lol. Yes that uncle is a tough old bird.

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    • It was a great weekend. My mother is not what one would call the outdoor type but she has many happy camp stories under her belt. Here’s hoping your camping dream comes true. 🙂

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  2. Wow! That looks like a lot of fun! I’m not really into camping – my idea of camping is going to Holiday Inn 🙂 …. but I do enjoy getting together with family and enjoy all of the moments that turn into precious memories. I hope you were able to enjoy some of those special moments too! And….I really like the last picture, the black and white pic of the gentleman in overalls – looks like the kind of grandpa that I would have liked to have had ….

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