By M. Scott Morris/NEMS Daily Journal
Our camping trip almost didn’t happen this past weekend. It was hot – July in Mississippi hot – and my 6-year-old son wasn’t enthusiastic.
“Really,” Evan said, “I want to stay home and play video games with you.”
While crawling on hard plywood in the attic to gather the camping gear, I wondered if all the stress and strain was worth it. Big globs of sweat were dripping off my nose and we hadn’t packed the car yet. Maybe Evan had the right idea.
That kind of thinking might have won the day if it hadn’t been so long since my last camping trip. I pushed through the frustrating thoughts, and that turned out to be one of the best decisions I’ve made in months.
At Tishomingo State Park, Evan wasn’t the best helper when it came to setting up camp. I’m used to having an adult around who knows what needs to be done.
On the plus side, Evan took orders pretty well. He was a championship firewood collector, and he made sure we walked to hear a presentation about the Natchez Trace Parkway, rather than taking my suggestion to drive.
“Bix isn’t here to make you walk,” he said, referring to our Mississippi mudhound. “I’m going to be your instructor.”
Good call on his part. We had a pleasant walk, and I burned off a few calories.
Speaking of calories, Evan forced me to eat s’mores, an overrated concoction of graham crackers, chocolate and marshmallows heated by a campfire.
I consider s’mores a messy waste of time when I could be watching the fire from a relatively cool distance and enjoying a piece of chocolate. The kid’s mother indoctrinated him, and Evan refused to go to bed without his s’mores. Guess who was left to clean the mess.
On the next day, we took a long hike, played disc golf and went swimming. We got blisters on our feet and chiggers on our legs, but no sunburns, so that was a triumph. My wife is the sunscreen warden at our house. Justice is swift and severe for the poor husband who allows UV rays to damage her babies.
We were up at 6:30 a.m. the next day. That’s fine for Evan, who usually wakes up at such a foolish hour. It took a toll on your humble correspondent. We needed to get everything packed into the car by 9:30 a.m., so we could make our float trip down Bear Creek.
Evan’s not the best at breaking camp. He tended to ask deep questions about the universe, cartoon characters and anything else that popped into his mind while I was hustling to meet our deadline.
The little guy redeemed himself as soon as we hit the water, and he also earned a nickname. He was such a fierce canoe paddler that I dubbed him Evanrude.
Sure, the boat motor is spelled Evinrude, but the nickname still works, and it works on two levels. In addition to speeding us along Bear Creek, Evanrude spent our entire camping trip burping like a Dr. Pepper-filled banshee.
M. Scott Morris is a Daily Journal feature writer. Contact him at (662) 678-1589 or firstname.lastname@example.org.