This piece was inspired by my guest-posters and those essays that always seemed to be assigned to write about summer vacations.
By Myra Halanski
This summer we went camping at Lilly Lake. I don’t know why it’s called Lilly Lake. I didn’t see any lilies there. There was a plant that Mom said was Poison Ivy. It was kind of pretty, but it makes you itch. A lot.
Dad and Mom like to camp. They call it the “great outdoors.” I don’t see what is so great about it. It’s dirty and boring mostly.
Dad says its relaxing. Mom says she likes the quiet. I don’t know how she thinks it’s quiet. The kids in the next campground were very loud. My brother told them about the ghosts that haunt the lake, and then when something bumped into their tent at night they screamed so loud. I don’t think they’d been camping before. They didn’t know that you were supposed to tell pretend stories at night. All campfire stories are supposed to be scary, but then you tell the pretend ghosts to stay by the campfire and they wont follow you to sleep. My Daddy says so, and he knows lots.
My brother loves to camp. He can run on the trails and pretend he is an explorer. My brother thinks he is a great explorer and discoverer. Sometimes he is. This summer he discovered that bees don’t like when you throw things at their nest and that chipmunks are afraid of bikes. He didn’t think the chipmunk was though, so tried to stop his bike. And then he fell. He also learned that the doctors can give you bright green casts, and that you aren’t supposed to scratch under the cast, and that when casts get wet they start to smell really gross.
I didn’t like camping. It was boring, except for when the kids in the next site started screaming. And when my brother showed me the cool tree with the strange things growing out of it (before he learned about chipmunks, but after he learned about bees). And when I got to go swimming every day — until there was a lizard that scared me. Then I was not wanting to go in the water so much. I remembered reading about lizards that could hurt people, and it looked slimy.
We were gonna camp for two weeks. Dad said it would be fun. When I learned about poison ivy he said we would still have fun. And when the neighbor kids screamed (and their dad talked to my mom and dad in an angry voice), Dad said we could still have fun. And when my brother learned about the bees Dad said we could still have fun. But he didn’t sound so certain.
When my brother learned about the chipmunks I think Dad was going to say we would still have fun. But then it started to rain, and Mom said there was only so much fun she could handle and she didn’t want to know what the second week would be like. And that if Dad wanted to camp he could set up a tent in our backyard. So the rest of the summer we had fun at home. And I got to go swimming in the pool at the rec center, and ride my bike, and climb the big tree in the yard and learned that Mom can scream REAL loud and she doesn’t like dare-devils.