“Camp Runamuck” was a sitcom that ran for one year in 1966. I was a senior in HS then but since I had spent about 20 weeks of my life in one camp or another I truly found it fun. Camp Runamuck was the boys camp and across the Runamuck River was the Camp Devine— yes the girls camp. Runamuck was run Commander Wivenhoe— who could not stand kids. This week with the help of my daughter Amy, son-in-law Christian and my Nephew Jed and his “gift from God” wife Allie, we pulled off a family vacation where the 10 of us managed to negotiate five days of continuous ‘family time’. The kids ranged from 7-18 which provides a challenge of its own.
We did everything from karaoke, to floating the San Jaun River. I had not been in that close company with kids for a while. Anytime I head into a family event there is the fantasy vs. reality of the experience. This time my reasonably high hopes were exceeded by reality. I think my favorite times were the meal times when we would circle the table and spend a couple of hours telling stories—the kids were great contributors. The best story was about my great nephew Weston and the day he cut his own hair. Of course the video of his conversation with his dad Jed, that we watched about 5 times on the iPad, helped.
Our 13 year old granddaughter on the second day went into the “I am bored” whine of young teen. Grandma Mary Kay headed off to Walmart and returned with a ‘needle point’ kit which Zoe had never done. By Saturday she was well on her way to a pretty nice still-life. Her cousin Emily —aged 9– showed up that day and wanted to join in the effort. She took right off on her project. The great part is that they were part of the group as they stitched away.
We stayed connected for five days ( yes I did have my own napping cave and lap pool). My son in law Christian was ordered by wife Amy that he was going for the week. He is in the midst of opening the first ever brewery in Hood County, Texas. His 60 hour weeks were taking its toll. I bet he spent five hours a day on the east facing deck where he got the beautiful mountain mornings and the shady afternoons. I literally watched the stress fall off him through the week.
I don’t want this week to sound too copacetic— there were tears, time outs, spills, debates about the “real facts” of passed events. More than once the order was given, “I don’t care what you want to do do get in the van and lets go”. We were certainly aware that there were gaps in our attendance as my sister Rita (Jed’s mom) and Dave were on Covid lock down which is par for the course in any family event in 2022.
Last night before dinner there were numerous conversations and kid noises going on all at once for at least 20 minutes. It was the noise of joy and connection. Yes it was a raucous cacophony which sounded like love. Today I came to the gathering place to say goodbye— I was hugged and loved by every one of them. Today my six hour drive home was fueled by knowing that sometimes things really do turn out even better than expected.
Onward and Upward, Mark