Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Camping vs Golfing

Wednesday is "golf" day for me ... it has been for about 17 years.  I'm an avid golfer, not a good golfer.  That used to mean that you would find me on the golf course regardless of the weather.  When I first started golfing, I thought there wouldn't be enough good golf days in my lifetime so I golfed regardless of the weather ... if it was league night I was out there in snow, rain, cold, wind, etc.  I remember one golf game when a friend and I wore her golf club head covers as mittens to keep our hands warm.  Why, you ask, would we have come back the next week?  Golf addiction is the only answer I can give.

Now that I've golfed for many years, I know that there are beautiful days out there and I don't have to waste my time on "bad" nights.  Today, I had to question if I had really learned that lesson.  

I had a tee time with friends at 3:07 p.m ... the temperature was about 63 degrees and it was cloudy, but no wind (that's important when justifying golfer's idiotic behavior sometimes). In another time and place, I would have said, "You have to be kidding!"  But since I've been on the road for 2 weeks and have missed 5 scheduled golf dates during that time, I was intent on golfing today regardless. 

We got in 9 good holes ... well, okay, they weren't good score-wise, but I got them in.  2 good friends and I spent as much time talking as we did hitting the ball, so I shouldn't be surprised that my score was less than ideal.  A 3rd friend joined us as we "made the turn," (golf talk for having finished the first 9 holes and moving on to golf the next 9).   We got about halfway down the 10th fairway before the gray clouds started spitting rain on us (what a surprise!).  With the rain we've had this spring, we should all have moss between our toes.  Actually, the rain was a really good excuse for us to quit golfing and go into the clubhouse to visit ...  something we had been doing  all along, which might explain my score!

I had spent the earlier part of the day with my youngest daughter, Michele, and her two children. We went shopping for rugs for the camper she and her husband just purchased yesterday. The camper is a 31-foot, pull behind which is beautiful and is like a house on wheels. She and her husband and two children spent last night sleeping in it in their driveway ...  and the kids are planning on doing that again tonight.  

Michele is excited about the camper, and the pride and happiness on her face reminds me of how I felt when she was about 7 and we got a pop-up tent camper.  I was as excited about that camper as she is about this one.  There is something about camping that is like playing house ... you buy a miniature broom to keep it clean; there is a miniature refrigerator for food storage; the whole family crowds around a miniature table for meals, etc.  You sit around the campfire with friends cooking "miniature meals" (see foil dinners recipe below) and solve the problems of the world.  The kids are free to roam the campgrounds and explore the area in an unsupervised manner that you would never allow "in the city."  Camping feels like a return to a safer, more "small town" type of life. Seeing the excitement on her face and hearing it in the voices of her two children made me happy to be part of this experience in their life.  

Shopping with them was fun, and made me realize that I've moved on to a different phase in my life.  I loved camping and the relaxed feeling that came with it, but my children were young and we camped with other families with young children, with whom we shared similar goals ... time with family; the feeling of "playing hooky" away from real life; teaching the kids how to be independent and carefree, yet responsible for "chores" around the campsite at the same time.  Were I to camp today, would I still share those objectives, or would I be wondering if I could sneak away for a game of golf with the "old folks" to be followed by "downtime" reading a good book or "catching up" with each other on the latest gossip.  Come to think about it .. there's not that much difference between then and now ... I just don't have any little kids that I'm responsible for teaching life's lessons to at the same time.  Life is good.  It continues on the same continuum regardless of what age we are.  

Foil Dinners:

Use heavy-duty aluminum foil, place shiny side in, spray with non-stick spray to prevent sticking. (This is what current campers do .. when we camped, they hadn't even invented non-stick spray yet!) 

Create foil packets by using a large piece of aluminum foil.  Place a raw hamburger patty in middle of the foil.  Slice peeled, raw potatoes, onions, and carrots on top of the hamburger patty.  Add salt and pepper. Fold sides of foil up, creasing foil at edge of food. Keeping edges together, make a 1/2”- 1” fold and crease. Fold 2-3 times – leaving enough room in packet for food expansion and steaming during cooking. Smooth ends flat, and fold under the food packet.  You can actually put this into the fire embers and cook for 30-45 minutes or until potatoes are tender and cooked through.  This smells as good as it tastes!

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