With no close second, the best camping trip I ever had was just Jeremy and me. We drove together to a young redwood forest in Northern California near Yountville. The year was 1992, and Jeremy was was not quite fifteen. We were there to see Tighe's American Legion baseball team compete in the State Championship games. I love baseball, and definitely remember the games, but some of the sweetest memories were of camping out with Jeremy. I couldn't have been treated better if I had been royalty.
Jeremy didn't have his learner's permit yet, so the 450 mile trip (each way) was driven entirely by me. If you know Jeremy, then you are well aware that as soon as the car starts up, if he's not behind the wheel, he's asleep. It tends to make for a long trip, if it's a long trip. He turned from slumbering companion to Super Son as soon as we pulled into the camp site, though. He pulled open the back of our little car, a Mercury Topaz, and pulled out four things: a chair, a bottle of wine, my guitar and a book. He set them up next to the campfire area, and told me that my entire job for the rest of our stay was to enjoy myself. I was to read, make music, and get us back and forth to the games. He'd take care of everything else—and he did.
He set up camp, got the fire going in the fire pit, and proceeded to make us the first of many wonderful meals. He cooked, he served, he cleaned up. We laughed and talked, and had a grand time together. Some of the things I'll never forget include the lady ranger that I (perhaps indiscreetly) described as having "Cojones." She was on some kind of power trip. I'm not sure what her problem was, but she just had a mean streak. Jeremy later got in a wee bit of trouble for using that expression in his Spanish class. When asked by the teacher where he had learned the term, he nicely told her, "From my mother." Thanks, kid.
Another indelible memory would have to be using the showers. One of the reasons we chose this campground was because there were showers. Most of the people attending the baseball tournament were staying at hotels. We didn't want to spend a week around hotel people as we got more and more campground rank. We just didn't realize that the showers only had cold water until we got in there. Jeremy went first and nearly froze, but he was nice enough to let me be surprised. I was.
I wonder if Jeremy remembers getting his first driving lesson at that campground, or that we ended up having to hide from that lady ranger afterwards. I think she wanted to see his permit.
And the baseball games? It would be worth mentioning that Tighe's team won the State Championship. Actually they did even better than that, but that's another day's blog. I'm still busy remembering camping with Jeremy.