Canopy of Nature

Dad decided last Sunday that we should all go on a camping trip.

He read an article in the Sunday paper about camping and how it “brings families together under the canopy of nature.”

“Overrated,” I joked. “What about the canopy of television or the canopy of restaurant food?”

“This will be good for us,” Dad said, sliding the magazine across the coffee table. “Let’s go next weekend.”

I shot a quick look over at my little brother, Paul. He gave me a slow eyebrow raise which meant, “This will probably not go off completely as planned.”

My smile back said, “But it will surely be fun.”

I started to think back. Once Dad decided we should all learn how to canoe. We borrowed two canoes from our friends, hoisted them on the van and drove for three hours to a secluded lake in Virginia. Alone in the middle of nowhere, we discovered that we had forgotten the paddles.

Paul and I got in a canoe with Dad and our two younger sisters got in a canoe with Mom. We floated aimlessly around the lake for hours. Then we all jumped in with our life jackets on. We pushed the canoes back to shore. It was a fantastic trip.

Another time, Dad decided we should all learn how to ski. All of us hate the cold so we spent the weekend huddled by the fire, drinking hot cocoa in the ski lodge and playing board games. It was great. We had a blast.

When I stopped daydreaming, Mom was saying, “Sweetheart, we don’t have a tent.”

“We don’t need one!” Dad said happily. “We’ll take all the seats out the van when we get to the campsite and put in an air mattress.”

I don’t know what the punch line will be on this excursion, but I am sure with Mom, Dad and the four of us kids scrunched in a van at some national park, we are bound to have a good time.

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