Camping Days

Did you go camping as a child?  I went camping with the girl scouts a couple of times.  It was fun and scary at the same time.  I was a girl who didn’t like to be away from home.  I would be invited someplace and I would get all excited about going and then at the last minute I would not want to go.  My mother made me go sometimes and I was always glad she did because I always had fun.

Anyway, camping with the girl scouts meant crafts and swimming and games.  I was one of the younger scouts, a brownie,  and the older scouts liked to play tricks on us like hiding our underwear or putting something creepy, crawly in our beds.  But other than that, I have fond memories of it all.

One of the things I liked best was sitting around the campfire at night roasting marshmallows and singing songs.  Cuckaberra was one of them.  We would sing it in rounds.  One group would start:  Cuckaberra sits on the old gum tree, merry merry king of the bush is he-e, laugh, cuckaberra, laugh, cuckaberra, how gay your life must be.   Then the next group would start and so on until we had sung our rounds.  I loved that song for some reason.

I went to church camp a few years where we learned from the Bible and went swimming and boating and ran around the campground and laid in bed at night talking.  One year our church went camping with another group of church kids and well, it didn’t go so well.  The other kids took a disliking to us as they were from the city and we were small town kids.  Also there was a couple who couldn’t keep their hands off each other and our leader wasn’t too happy about that.  I had another bad camping experience once I will tell you about sometime if I remember.  But, for the most part, I have loved to camp.

My cousins went to a different camp than I.  They sang different songs obviously.  Great big gobs of greasy, grimy, gopher guts, greasy grimy gopher guts, greasy, grimy gopher guts, great big gobs of greasy, grimy, gopher guts hanging on the mess hall door.  Hanging on the mess hall door.  Hanging on the mess hall door.  Great big gobs of greasy, grimy gopher guts hanging on the mess hall door.  They sang that song all the way to a lake where we were going swimming, in our car, with my parents and my mother was not amused.

My cousins, who are twins by the way, just visited me last week and mentioned that song.  I was waiting for them to burst out singing, but they didn’t.

Another cousin taught me a song from her camping days, John Jacob Jingleheimer Schmitt, his name is my name too. Whenever we go out, the people always shout, there goes John Jacob Jingleheimer, Schmitt.  I don’t know why, but I can remember all the words to camp songs and can’t remember where I put my car keys last.

David and I bought a camper years ago and spent several happy years camping.  Our daughter was but a few weeks old when she went on her first camping trip.  She still likes to camp.  We camped in Michigan when David was doing training with the National Guard.  One day some tear gas was actually accidentally dropped near the campground where most of the children were playing and they all, including our two sons, came running back to the campers crying with tears running down their faces. David said that is what had happened as he recognized the smoke.  They all were okay, though.

We camped with my parents a couple of times.  We went to Yellowstone National Park and to Pikes Peak in Colorado.  My dad was a snorer, so we all tried to get to sleep before he did because he could rattle the camper.  Four adults and three children in a camper for a week is very interesting.

Now David and I have a campfire area in our yard where we sit and roast marshmallows.  We don’t sing, though.  We talk and just watch the flames leaping and sparking in the wood and I think back to camping days. Bye.

To all my Australian friends, if I misspelled cuckaberra, please forgive me.  I couldn’t find it in any dictionary I had.

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