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.