Monday, April 24, 2006

Monday Memory - Camping with Our Children

Did I ever tell you about our family camping trips in the 1970's?

During the lean years when our children were young, summer vacations consisted of taking our popup camper and our two young children to
FDR State Park for a few days.

This park is near the small town now known as Pine Mountain, Georgia. (It was known as Chipley until sometime in the 1950s o r1960s, when it was renamed Pine Mountain.) The primary attraction of Pine Mountain is its proximity to Callaway Gardens, a gorgeous resort area with many attractions including gardens, golf courses, an inland beach, a butterfly preserve, and during the summer, twice daily shows of the
Florida State University Circus. The spectacular FSU “Flying High” Circus has been in residence at Callaway Gardens every Summer since 1960. The shows performed by these talented college students is a highlight on a visit to the Gardens. Our children loved camping at FDR State Park and going to Callaway Gardens mostly because of the beach and the circus shows.

When we would return to the campground after visiting the Gardens and the circus, S and L would play on the playground equipment and try to perform some of the tricks they had seen performed by the FSU students. After each trick on the monkey bars, they would jump down, arch their backs, dramatically thrust their arms up and out in a victory pose, lift their chins and vocally chime “ta da!” and wait for the applause from the audience their imaginations had assembled to watch their performances.

Another vivid memory of camping at FDR State Park involves singing. Both our children always loved to sing. They sang in school choruses throughout their high school and college days, often sang “specials” in church, and still enjoy singing in their church choirs. {You may remember that I mentioned in other posts that
my mother sings hymns as she cooks. I also wrote a post about my maternal grandmother in which I mentioned remembering her singing “His Eye Is on the Sparrow” as she churned butter. And I am afraid I must admit that I continue the family tradition and sing hymns aloud when I am alone at home.}

My children’s constant singing and humming is a family trait, and they come by it honestly; it is so normal to me that I am usually unaware of it. During their childhood and the camping trips I am remembering this morning, apparently our family trait of hymn-singing while carrying on daily life was continuing as usual.

One afternoon our entire family was walking on one of the nature trails in the campground when we met an older couple who were camping near us. After we chatted for a few minutes, the lady commented. “Your children wake up so happy in the morning! They are always singing. They have such sweet voices.” I thanked her and we walked on. Later it dawned on me that she was trying to tell me politely that our children were too noisy too early in the mornings. I guess waking up in the barely-daylight dawn to full-throttle “HE LIBS! HE LIBS! CHRIST JESUS LIBS TODAY!” might be an acquired taste.

Acquired taste or not, this is one of the first things I think of every Easter morning. What better celebration can you think of than an innocent child loudly proclaiming, "HE LIBS!"

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