Clare County Review & Marion Press

Pat’s Bits and Pieces: And so it begins…

The beginning of the summer season is now just one short week away, and it will be over again before we know it.
I know, I know, the calendar says summer starts June 21st, but let’s face it, the season really starts with Memorial Day weekend…
Clare, Harrison and Coleman will hold graduation ceremonies this weekend and Farwell will hold theirs the 5th. The school year ends shortly after that, then it is officially the best time of year – summer vacation time!
For the Maurers it’s camping time and I can hardly wait.
We’ve done a lot of that over the past years, mostly on weekends, sometimes with an extra day tossed in and occasionally for a whole week at a time.
Years ago, we used to load up the kids, pack the canoe, our big old-fashioned tent and Coleman lamp, stove and various gear and head out. We always took a cooler full of kid-type food and treats. We cooked a lot of meals over the campfire, slept on the ground with mats or air mattresses and sleeping bags, fished or swam every day and took loads of pictures.
That was fun and made for great memories, but now that I’m an old lady, my achy bones and I like the camping we do these days much better.
I can’t help it, I’m spoiled. We head up to our 32-foot 5th Wheel camper, complete with a queen size bed, TV with DVD and VCR player, radio, CD player, stove, refrigerator, microwave and just about everything else, on a smaller scale, that we have right here at home. The camper, bought used, upgraded and now several years old, was a great investment and we really enjoy using it for our summer get-aways.
We park it on family property near where I grew up just northeast of Roscommon. For recreation, the Au Sable River is just down the road. Higgins Lake is also close and there’s lots to see and do in the area and tons of family to visit.
From our little home away from home we have a five-mile view, mowed grass, a deck and a built-in fire pit for roasting hot dogs and marshmallows. About the only thing I don’t have is a dishwasher so, you guessed it, when we are there, we eat on paper plates a lot!
If it’s rainy, we go shopping, visiting, take naps, read books and watch movies. If it is nice, we go exploring, for walks through the woods, take naps and enjoy family cookouts – and we still take lots of pictures. If we are lucky and the weather cooperates, we may get to pick some huckleberries this year. They are wild blueberries and they make delicious pies. Unfortunately, a late frost kills the blooms and there aren’t often enough berries to pick and make a pie, but we can always hope…
For many years, my brother Jim and his wife parked their camper there too, so we always had loads of fun together when we would go vacationing at the same time. Sadly, we lost Ginny a few years ago after she fought a long, hard battle with cancer. She was my special friend as well as sister-in-law and I miss her a lot. Jim sold their camper and only gets up to visit us when we are there occasionally now.
These days, it is a bit more lonesome up at our campsite, unless my other sister-in-law Marlene comes up from her Florida home. She took over our spot for her small trailer and added-on porch, and we moved into Jim and Ginger’s old spot. Now Marlene is not coming as often or for as long, because of her age (84 this month) and some health issues.
Even by ourselves, we still enjoy our get-aways to Roscommon as often as possible.
Some of this summer’s plans include berry picking and looking up some historic old ghost towns and cemeteries around the area, and even a little exploring.
And with nearly every trip we enjoy at least one “family cookout.”
We always have our cell phones with us, but always hope we don’t get many calls.
After all it is “vacation time.”

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