Thursday, July 14, 2011

Communing With Nature

Camping was something my family often did while I was growing up. Camping is a great way for families to spend time together. It’s also a great way for people to get out and enjoy nature.

We had a pop-up camper, where my sisters and I slept along with our parents. My older brother preferred sleeping alone in the van. I normally liked sleeping in the camper, but one particular night, I would have much preferred the van and my brother.

I was sleeping soundly when all of a sudden something woke me. The lights of the camper were on and the camper was rocking back and forth. I could hear my mom talking to my dad, “It’s over there!” Then there would be stomping and shaking again.

Sitting up in my bed, I opened the privacy curtain and saw that my father was out of bed, but without my glasses on, I couldn’t see what was wrong. So what did I do? I put on my glasses and took another sneak peak, which is an act I regret to this day.

I saw my dad holding a badminton racket.

“It’s over there!” My mom said again.

Dad looked where she was pointing and swung the racket. He missed. There was a bat flying around the camper. It must have come in through one of the not so tight spots of the canvas part of the camper.

My sister, who was sleeping on the fold down table, groggily sat up.

“What’s going on?” She asked.

“Lay down!” Mom demanded.

She immediately obeyed, but by now her eyes were wide open, watching my dad swing at the bat that was flying directly above her head.

“Get it, Bill!” Mom yelled.
Dad swung. The bat fell onto my sister’s leg. Even though she was covered by blankets, she still screamed bloody murder.
At that moment, my youngest sister, who had been sleeping next to me, sat up. I smacked her in the chest with my forearm and made her lay back down. She still doesn’t recall much of anything to this day.

My other sister, however, still remembers everything. It may have happened almost thirty years ago, but she says she can still feel that bat on her leg. Believe it or not, we all still love camping! Whenever we see a bat flying through the night sky, I look to my sister and ask, “Do you remember that time...?”

Friday, July 8, 2011

Best Friends

While at the pool with my son and his best friend the other day, I just sat and listened as they played and goofed off. It brought back a lot of memories for me of my best friends as a child. Friends are so important in our lives no matter how old we are. While our best friend may change throughout the years due to a variety of circumstances, that very first best friend will always hold a special place in our hearts.

I distinctly remember my first best friend and the day we met. Her name was Eileen. It was my first day of 1st grade. I was attending a different school than I had for Kindergarten. It was snack time and I didn't have one. Eileen noticed and pulled her chair up to mine and shared her snack with me. I remember it clearly to this day, even though 1st grade was a “couple” of years ago now. It was the beginning of a beautiful friendship.

Eileen and I continued to be friends even though we eventually both changed schools and she moved away because of her dad's job. We understandably lost touch and it would be years before we could connect, but that doesn't mean that she didn't come to my mind once in a while, celebrating the memories we had built during the years of our best-friendship.

Then one day I logged into my Facebook account to see I had a friend request. I sort of groaned since the last few requests I had were people who had no idea who I was and with names I couldn't pronounce. I clicked on the request to find my dear, sweet Eileen! I was thrilled! Although we still haven't been able to actually see each other, we can send messages and look at pictures of each other's families. It's something and it brings a smile to my face.

Think about your very first best friend. Where is he or she now? Relive the memories of summer days at the pool or winter days of sledding and hot cocoa. Look through old pictures of the two of you. Get back in touch, if possible, and rekindle the blessing of true friendship.