Singing and Camping

Life can come full circle pretty damn fast.

Years ago, while helping clean out Mom’s attic, Missy came across several old music reels. They were labeled as music written and performed by my dad, spanning from about 1967 to 1973. This was before he even met Mom, when he had aspirations of becoming the next Bob Dylan.

We recently paid to have those reels digitized. Our hopes were low since they were 50 years old and had been stored in the attic, but only one reel had super low sound quality. It was fun but bittersweet to listen to my dad, in his element with a guitar and microphone in front of him.

Some of the songs I’d heard him play before but many were new to me. He was offered a few thousand dollars for one of the songs, which was a decent amount of money I’m 1970. He turned it down because he hoped the hit would propel his career. Even though that didn’t pan out, I love that Dad always went for the home run. We had copies of the music made and sent them to Mom, Allison and Andrew.

Shortly after listening to Dad’s music, I got to see Myra, Maddux and Hawk sing with their church choir. Dad would have loved to be there, and he would have been the first to get off his feet for a standing ovation even though they sang in the middle of a church service and there was no standing ovation.

Another thing Dad loved was being out in nature, whether it was fishing, golf or a trip to a B&B in Sulphur with Mom. Our family got its fill of nature this week with a camping trip to Arkansas. In fact, you might say nature won that one.

We found a beautiful area in the middle of nowhere, about 50 miles away from nothing. We didn’t have cell phone service, which was kinda cool.

Nature gave us a rude welcome, with a nasty thunderstorm and rain throughout our first night there. Additionally, the temperature was in the 30s. For the most part our main tent (where we all slept) stayed dry, although there were a few spots where water crept in. Our “stuff” tents weren’t as lucky, as one took in quite a bit of water.

We spent most of the second day getting our things back in order, then were blessed with beautiful weather for a couple of days. We went to several small waterfalls that were perfectly functional because of the rain, and the kids were able to go swim in them. We also took a short hike up a mountain (we were in the Ouachitas) and dug for crystals, which are plentiful in that region. The kids enjoyed the digging but nobody loved it more than Missy, who brought home quite a haul. She’s mentioned the possibility of turning the crystals into necklaces or earrings, and I’m excited to see what she ends up doing with them.

We also got to spend some quality time with Missy’s sister and her family. The cousins get along great, and that was the first thing our kids mentioned when I asked about their favorite part of the trip.

Unfortunately, the weather turned bad again during our last two nights. It started hailing, and the locals warned us about flooding in our campsite area due to the compounding effect of this storm and the one we’d endured a few nights prior. So Missy and I packed up our tent and belongings as fast as we could in the rain and got a hotel room in a town about 20 minutes away. This meant that we didn’t get to eat all of the yummy camp food Missy had brought and was planning to make during our last two days, but we managed to stay safe and out of the cold, rainy weather. It got cold again, with lows in the upper 30s, so I didn’t mind escaping that.

All in all, the work to fun ratio was a little off due to all the weather issues, but things like that are what make vacations memorable, right? I know Dad would have gotten a big chuckle out of watching us try to run down our canopy as it tried to get blown into the river when we were packing up. And I know he wouldn’t have offered one complaint about the whole ordeal.

I’m thankful for Dad and his musical talents. I’m thankful for Mom for taking the kids to choir practice every week so we can hear them sing. I’m thankful for a mother-in-law who took care of our pets and even cleaned our house while we were gone. I’m thankful for an adventurous wife who manages all of the planning and most of the execution for a trip we’ll always remember. Im thankful for kids who sing, laugh, and play with their cousins. I’m thankful for the Creator of beautiful crystals in the ground and peaceful little waterfalls in the middle of the forest. I’m thankful.

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