It was an arranged meeting, sort of. My father was doing a camping trip for families with only one parent, doing the hard work like setting up camps, cooking and all the other arranging. He decided I needed to go to, but I didn’t want to. So… he convinced me to come by dangling in front of my boy crazy brain the news that a new family would be coming, one that had a 16 year old boy who played the banjo. OK.. Interesting… I loved folk music and that was just enough to convince me that I should maybe go.
Of course we arrived earlier than anyone, since my father had to do all the work, setting up camp sites, preparing the food, etc. I don’t remember being much help at all, although I’m sure I was. I most likely raked, and raked and raked. Interestingly this campout was held in the area I had grown up in, and I do remember driving by the old family house, the grade school I went to, and wondering if I would see anyone I knew.
Sure enough that evening a little sports car drove through the campsite, nice looking guy checking out the visiting chicks. There was something familiar about him… oh yea.. I went to school with him. Can I think of his name now, no way. But I do remember that we sat and talked for a while and then went for a ride to see who else we could find. No one was home anywhere we went, but it was fun anyway. He promised to come back again the next night and maybe get together some of the old grade school friends.
However I was still waiting for the new family to arrive, the one with the 16 year old boy who played the banjo. As each car arrived my disappointment grew and grew, they weren’t showing up. Thank goodness my old friend would be back later that night, and maybe some fun would come out of the weekend after all.
Evening fell and no new family, and no old friend either. Time dragged on and on. And then my Dad yelled at me that they were finally here. An old station wagon pulled up, and one by one girls climbed out. One, two, three, four, hold on, this guy brought his own harem, five, six… wait that one is a little boy then another little girl, what was certainly the mother, and then… well I wasn’t impressed at all. He didn’t exactly fit my cute profile of those days, although he wasn’t bad looking. But he seemed so occupied with taking care of his harem I doubted he’s even noticed me.
Little while later I heard the guy ask my father where he could find a store, his mother needed cigarettes. My Dad told him I could show him how to get to the store, and next thing I knew he was knocking on my tent. So we went off in that old station wagon to find the store. Little bit down the road he noticed clothes flying of the top of the car, one of his sisters had left her suitcase up there. Next thing I knew we were picking up clothes from the road and having a good laugh. Ok so he’s a nice guy, cares about his family, likes taking care of people he loves.
45 years later, nothing has changed. He still likes taking care of the people he loves. And I am so glad that he loves me and that my father made me go on that camping trip, even if the guy didn’t play the banjo.