Out and About – Week of July 25th

This week’s column actually deals with getting Out and About. What a concept! Ten years ago I used the column to inform you readers about things going on in and around St. Joe County, but like so many things, change happens.
On July 17, my wife and I left for a week of camping at Yankee Springs, south of Grand Rapids. We camped there last year and decided to make a return visit this year. I also thought this would be a great opportunity to stick to the main reason for the column, so here are some of the highlights of our week with nature.
We are not true campers. We prefer camping in a motor home rather than pitching a tent. There are just comforts we refuse to give up. We did notice some “tenters” at the park, but they were greatly outnumbered by camping trailers and motor homes, some motor homes larger than an apartment I used to live in.
We were amazed at how many families we saw with very young children in the park. It was great to see these families spending time together. I commend those parents for their patience. A child’s attention span can’t be much more than about five minutes. A positive thing we noticed was that we saw more children riding their bicycles than staring at their cell phones.
The nice thing about getting out of town for a few days is that you can sleep as late as you like, because you don’t have those daily tasks to handle at home. There really isn’t any reason to get up at 6:30 AM. Usually I’m up and at the coffee shop by 7:30 AM, and in my office by nine. During our week away, we got up around 9AM, had some breakfast, and then spent the day doing whatever we wanted. This can be more difficult than you think. I was able to catch up on reading some magazines that have accumulated over several months. This made my wife happy, because she thinks I should read more than I do. We both enjoy crossword puzzles, so we also caught up with those as well. The difference is that she doesn’t cheat like I have been known to do.
I took my keyboard with me so that I could practice for my next piano lesson. I can’t use the excuse about not having any time to practice, but for the life of me, I couldn’t recall where I had packed the thing. Sorry, Carolyn.
WiFi isn’t available at many campgrounds, and Yankee Springs is no exception. My wife and I both had our laptops with us, but I was the only one who made use of its availability, because I didn’t need WiFi to play Free Cell, or to use a flash drive for my writing. We had no idea what was happening on Facebook, and my Yahoo inbox was overflowing by the time we arrived home.
We enjoyed a campfire every evening. We purchased a bundle of firewood every day for $5.00. I’d get the fire going around 8:30 PM and it would last for about two hours. There’s nothing quite like sitting by an open fire and watching a full moon pass across the horizon. A nice cigar only added to the tranquility.
Next week, I’ll wrap up our encounter with Mother Nature. It included a few tense moments, so I hope you’ll enjoy the adventure.
See you Out and About!

Submitted by Norm Stutesman

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