Camp – quite simply


My folks have this great little camp on Joe’s Pond in Vermont. It’s small and old. The type of place that real estate agents describe as “cozy and charming”. It’s a camp which means it is a summer place only – no winter insulation here. The interior is all exposed studs and rafters but softened with built in shelves, hooks and secret cubbies filled with antique games and books by Beatrix Potter.  Everything creaks and slants a little to the left but that’s part of its appeal.

Camp always takes me back in time. The scent reminds me of my grandparent’s home. A big part of that has to do with what comes from the kitchen: donuts frying in grease, sausage on the griddle, and savory meats on the grill. But most of the allure comes from the furnishings that came from my grandparent’s home and are now nestled here in their new abode. There is the steady tic-toc from the Regulator clock in the dining room and the chime from the Seth Thomas clock on the mantel. There are lamps, hooked rugs, and pictures on the walls and I can remember their exact places in their former homes. But the best treasures are the “nick knacks and paddy whacks” that my Mom pulls out at just the right moments like the manual card shuffeler for our heated games of Canasta or the oil cloth with the game of Bonanza hand-drawn on it.

Although we’ve only know camp for a handful of years, it’s hard to imagine spending summers anywhere else. The kids will grow up making memories here. Being at camp for them means watching early morning cartoons of Tom & Jerry with Nani to keep the house quite. It means breakfasts of homemade waffles or donuts made by Grandpa. It means splashing around in the water until lips are blue or lunch is served. It means daily ice cream cones or other sweet treats. It means afternoon boat rides and shelling peanuts on the porch while listening for the Loons. It means playing games like marbles, checkers, and dominoes. But above all, being at camp means having a summer of fun spent with family.

The pace is different here. The focus is in the present. There is less “hurry up” and more “do you want to play __ with me?” I admit I like having high speed internet here but I also like not having reliable cellphone coverage or cable. Although there is a TV, it is used for early morning cartoons or rainy day matinees. It is currently showing Disney’s Aladdin. The kids learned what a VHS tape was while waiting for it to rewind. Rewinding and unwinding is what we do here at this place we call camp.