What if you could go back in time and relive one day of your life? Not to change it, but to enjoy it all over again. Aewl’s Abode recently posted this question and the thought intrigued me.
What day would I choose if given that opportunity? There are many. I wanted to choose a memory that when I thought back on it, it brought me a sense of peace and warmth. After 33 years on this earth, my favorite memories always seem to go back to my childhood. This will be another one of those.
We moved to a mountainous state when I was 11 years old. I remember the drive as if it were yesterday. With every hill that came into view, I would excitedly ask my mother if it was a mountain. The answer each time was, “No. That’s just a hill” or “No, that’s a cloud.”
It took hours upon hours for the real mountains to come into view. When they finally did, I was disappointed at how tiny they were. I thought they would be huge at first sight, but we were still about 2 hours away from them. I was glad to see that they grew in size as we got closer. They were all that I had imagined them to be; beautiful and towering.
Our summers quickly became filled with hiking, fishing, panning for gold and camping. Before moving here, I had never been camping before. To this day it is one of my most favorite pastimes.
We would rise early in the morning and load up the car. All of us kids would squeeze into the back seat, leaving just enough room to breathe. That always made for a fun and very cozy trip. Thankfully we all got along, but there was still a lot of picking on each other, going on in that back seat.
Growing up with boys (my step-dad’s sons) I had little choice but to join them in their boyish ways, if I was going to survive. Being a farm girl made that fairly easy to do and I highly enjoyed our friendly rivalry. Even now, I know that people really love me when they feel comfortable enough to pick on me. Strange isn’t it?
We would arrive at our camping destination and unload the car. Then, all of us would join together to help my step-dad set up the tent. That was an adventure in itself. Once that was done, we were free to explore. We always stayed near some type of water, usually a river. The boys and I would take our shoes off and play in it. Well, first we would stand in it until our feet became numb from the coldness of the water, and then we would play.Once, my mother even joined in. Inadvertently. In order to get to the other side of the creek, the boys decided to jump across. Seeing how easy it was for them, my mother and I thought nothing of it when it was our turn. We soon found out that we weren’t skilled jumpers, as we both landed in the water. Although cold and wet from head to toe, we were instantly laughing and carrying on about it.
At nights we would curl up in our sleeping bags within the safety of the tent. As the grown-ups would drift off to sleep, the rest of us would keep each other up talking and reminiscing about our day. Finally closing our eyes, we would fall asleep to the sounds of insects chirping and the wind as it howled through the trees.
To help keep us warm, we normally brought along a little space heater. Being the coldest one in the bunch, I always chose the spot closest to it. One night the heater and I got a little too close. In the morning, I was frantically awakened after being found with my body wrapped around the space heater. By the time it was noticed, it had already burnt a nice sized hole into the side of my sleeping bag. Even though it scared everyone else, I was just happy to be warm.
My step-dad loved to pan for gold. We would spend hours on the river hoping to hit the jack-pot. We never did, but the search never lost it’s excitement. I still have a few rocks that we found in those rivers with ‘fools gold’ embedded in them. My step-dad also tried to teach us how to fly fish. That was more challenging than we had expected and I don’t recall anyone mastering that skill, not even him. Even so, it was fun trying. Most of all, it was fun because we were all together.
Togetherness. That is what I would love to relive. One day in the mountains camping as a family again with no TV, phones or computers. No distractions. Just quality time, filled with laughter, smiles and love. That would be a dream come true.
Those days to me, are the most precious of them all. It’s not really just one day, but the combination of all of our mountain trips. Those days gave me some of the best memories of my life. Those are the moments that I will treasure forever.