Friday, June 27, 2008

Pancakes and Point

I'm not sure if our family really loved camping, or if it was simply the one thing we could manage to afford to do on vacation. I know I loved camping, but I'm not sure about everyone else. Even camping out would stretch our budget by the time we'd add in the travel costs. By the time Dad retired, we had seen most of the United States and a great deal of Canada as well.

I remember one trip to Banff National Park in Alberta, Canada. That's where Lake Louise is, in the Canadian Rockies, and it's the first place I ever saw a glacier. It was a beautiful spot. With travel time, we had about three weeks available.

This was the location of our mirage fight. Dad had gotten up early to go fishing, and Mom had decided to treat the four of us kids to a breakfast at the campground's little diner. We cleaned up really good, and walked across the campground to join the line at the self-serve counter. We were excited, but we were being very good, and straining to see the big white board at the front of the line that listed the daily breakfast specials.

I'll never forget my shock when my mother suddenly gathered us kids together and started herding us out of there, loudly proclaiming, "If you four can't stop fighting, you can just forget eating in a restaurant." Our reaction was probably as loud and indignant as she needed it to be. When we got back to the campground, she apologized to all of us, and admitted that when she saw the prices, she knew she didn't have enough money for us to all eat there. Then she made us some pancakes with apples in them.

We still had dinner and lunch food, but breakfasts were down to pancakes. We had pancakes with apples until we ran out of apples. Then we had pancakes with corn. We ran out of that, too. We ran out of syrup and jam. Then Daddy called a family meeting one night and said we had enough time left for one more week, but no food left except for pancakes, and almost nothing left to put on them. Mom was silent as we took a vote on whether to stay and eat pancakes, or head home. Of course we kids wanted to stay.

My dad was so pleased with our vote that he personally cleaned out the empty jam jars and syrup bottle and placed them on the picnic table. He introduced us to "pancakes and point." You take a bite of pancake and point to the container of what you would imagine was on your pancake. Close your eyes now. Isn't that delicious? We later learned that potatoes and point works just as well when you burn the gravy. Just clip a photo from a magazine and glue it to a jar or bottle...

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