Out and About – Week of August 21st

A final reflection on our week of camping. There was a time when sleeping in a tent was real camping. Some still consider it the only way to go. Two days before we broke camp, a family settled in next to our site. I was amazed at how much they enjoyed setting up their site. They had a family-sized tent and the entire family pitched in to make it “homey”. I’ll refer to the father as Paul Bunyan, because he had a huge ax and enjoyed splitting their firewood. We were curious about what they would do if we had a day or two of rainy weather. I learned later that inclement weather had never been a problem.
It’s amazing how safe one feels when camping. We never worried about someone stealing any of our belongings, and parents didn’t seem too concerned about letting their children go to the bathroom unaccompanied. The children that we saw seemed to be well-behaved and polite.
I might have mentioned this before, but this week was extremely difficult for me. I’m not used to sitting around doing nothing. I much prefer to always have something to do or have a place to run off to. I always feel better when I’ve had a productive day. Being productive is difficult when camping. Perhaps I should buy a good ax and split some firewood.
As we age, we lose more and more friends every day. We all have an expiration date and there’s not much we can do about it. Sort of like taxes. Getting over a friend’s passing can be difficult. They say that time heals all. Fortunately, we will always have memories to help us get over the loss.
When Bruce Snook became ill, then suddenly passed, it was a shock to many of us. I remember mentioning him in one of my columns soon after his death. While sitting around a campfire recently, Bruce came to mind. That’s one of the nice things about a campfire. Our minds have time to reflect on those special times in our lives and those individuals that mean so much to us.
I thought of the times when I would sit with Bruce at a local coffee cafe. Bruce always seemed to take his time doing everything. He savored every moment of every day. While one person might take ten minutes to inhale a breakfast, Bruce would take a half hour or forty-five minutes. It seems he was never in a hurry, yet I don’t recall him ever being late. I mentioned once that he was a man of integrity and I don’t recall him ever cussing. Although, I do remember hearing about a time when his family was in the living room and Bruce was in the kitchen. From the kitchen, the family heard cupboard doors slamming. Evidently Bruce was quite upset, because all of a sudden, they heard Bruce exclaim, “Where the hell is the peanut butter?” This was so unlike Bruce, but it was proof that he was indeed human and could actually get upset. We all have those moments when there just aren’t enough cupboard doors. Life is short. We should all try a little harder to savor life’s moments and enjoy those friends that mean so much to us. I wish I would have taken the time to get to know Bruce better.
We still have a week and a half left of August. This means that there is still time to get Out and About and take the family to one of the many amusement parks here in southwest Michigan.
Here are a few things to consider prior to embarking on that day of fun. Before you visit an amusement park, call for a brochure and map of the park. A good way to figure out where to start and work your way around the park. You could also get some ideas on where to occasionally meet, should you decide to split up for a while. Plan on arriving at the park early on the least crowded days. Weekdays are better than weekends, if you want to avoid crowds. Packing a lunch and a few snacks will save you a lot of money. Use disposable containers, so that your load can be lightened after use. Finally, if you have small children, have them carry small ID cards with their name, address, and a telephone number, just in case they become lost. Put that card in a zippered pocket, if available.
Life is short- if you don’t stop and take a look around once in a while, you might miss it.
No word in the English language rhymes with month, orange, silver, or purple.
See you Out and About!

Submitted by Norm Stutesman

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