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THEY MAY HAVE BEEN POTATOES

Cindy Maddera

Last Friday, Michael drove the trailer over to Longview Lake campground which is about twenty minutes from our house. By the time I loaded up some dry goods and the dog and fought my way through traffic to meet him at the campground, he had already set everything up and was even lounging in his camp chair with a beer. All I had to do was hang up the camp lights. This is monumental because Michael and I have been discussing some things about traveling and the camper. We’ve been talking about Michael and the Cabbage driving out to where ever, California, the Grand Canyon, the East Coast, and then I would fly out to meet them. We spend a lot of time getting to the place where we really want to be. Then we don’t get to spend as much time as we would like in that place before we have to start back home. I have less vacation days. Michael and the Cabbage can take their time. Now we know that Michael can set the camper up all by himself. So…next year it looks like we’re headed to Washington!

We also discovered that potatoes do not last a year sealed up inside a plastic bin.

At least I think they were potatoes.

I got the utensil bin out so we could make ourselves some sandwiches that evening and everything inside that bin was covered in stinky mold. I threw the whole bin away. Do not worry. All of the titanium sporks are in the kitchen utensil drawer at home. Probably because I feared something like this would happen some day. No one knows how those potatoes got into that bin, especially since we don’t even store our food in that bin. But this is why we chose the closest campground to the house to set the camper up for the first time this season. This was the trip where we de-winterized the camper and took stock of the things we need and the things we need to replace and the things we’d like to have. Like a cooking prep table to set up next to the camp stove or some bus bins for washing dishes with the outside shower head. This was also our trip to discuss future trips.

We are not doing a big trip this year. Michael’s going to come with me when I go to a conference in Boston in July, but we do not have an epic camping family vacation planned for this summer. Instead, the plan is to take the camper to nearby state parks and have travel distances of no more than four hours. We had talked about taking the Cabbage to Omaha for a weekend, but the roads between here and there are under water. We are trading the Omaha Zoo for Silver Dollar City. Apparently teachers get in free and can purchase half-price tickets through the month of June. I have not been to that place since maybe 1998 and the more I think about it, the more excited I get about revisiting this particular childhood haunt. We were there so often that I had all the lines from the Saloon show memorized. I could play any part. I also knew the exact spot on the train ride when we’d get ‘robbed’ by the Bolins and where to stand or not stand during the Rainmaker show. If you were peckish, you could always grab a hot cracklin’ from the sample bowl at the craklin’ booth and giving Mom dipped candles that you made all by yourself was just like handing her a bouquet of wildflowers. We dipped so many candles.

Sure, the place is hokey. But it’s good ole family fun hokey. Maybe I can talk Michael and the Cabbage into getting an old timey family portrait made. Maybe that can be our Christmas card for this year!

Last summer we took the Cabbage on a tour of my childhood stomping grounds. She got to do all of the things that I got to do at her age. Except catch a fish. She did not catch a fish. She did get to run around various campgrounds with other kids in wild packs.. She did get to play in the dirt and climb up (and fall off) giant rocks. She got to see the stars and go for days without taking a bath. It seems almost fitting that we should be taking her to Silver Dollar City this year. I wonder if she’ll let me tie her hair up in pigtails like Mom used to do to me.

And then I can buy her bonnet to wear.

And dress her up like Laura Ingalls.

I’m probably going to have more fun than she will.