Sunday, August 24, 2014


Not long after we arrived at Cultus Lake campgrounds, we received a warm and gentle greeting from one of Kevin's sisters and her family. In the evening a bunch of us gathered at their site for drinks and junk food. I don't remember what drink was given me but it tasted like Five Alive citrus juice, and others had beer or Coke with rye. Naturally then, our conversation turned to drinks.

"Have you guys tried Arbor Mist?" asked one of the brothers-in-law. "It's fruity and it's only like seven bucks a bottle."

At one point a sister mentioned she didn't even like wine so I said she'd probably like that Arbor Mist. I remember only small patches of conversation from that night. Some of it hurt me, so I tuned out once in a while as a way to take care of myself. I'm giving the benefit of the doubt in assuming they weren't trying to harm me on purpose.

A parks guy came by to tell us to be quiet since it was past quiet hour. They made fun of him after he left but he had been hiding and listening behind the boat somewhere, so he came back and stressed that we really did need to be quiet. I get the feeling this is a common occurrence at Cultus campgrounds.

Trevor has his own particular brand of whine. He uncorked the lid on it and poured it often during our stay and that's not surprising. He also threw a temper tantrum once. I lifted him, kicking and screaming, into our camping trailer so he could take time to calm himself. He put his size five hero shirt on inside out and backwards the one day. When I tried to fix it, he seemed annoyed so I left it. Not a big deal.

The men and boys went river fishing for salmon the next day. Caught their limit.

Kevin and I went to bed early that night.

Most of the family went fishing again the next day. Caught the limit again, if I remember right.

Two of my little nephews brought joy to our site on several occasions during the trip. Their mother wasn't feeling well and ended up in hospital getting her appendix removed. This was disappointing in more ways than one 'cause she had been excited for camping. She's a trooper.

A highlight of the trip was watching her kids and mine play with a maltese poodle named Chelsea at the beach.

Back at our campsite my mother-in-law wandered over and said, "Dad [something, something]." I couldn't pick up what she said for some reason—it was blocked out completely. All I heard was "Dad" and I could've asked her to repeat herself but instead we stared at each other for a moment and made our way to the chairs. An occasional robin or squirrel came near. We had no fire going and I gestured toward the pile of garbage that had accumulated in our fire pit. I apologized for the unpleasant smell, though I didn't need to do so.

Crows flew high in the trees above. She looked up at them and her eyes darted from one to another like she was counting them. As for me, I noticed their presence but wasn't interested in keeping track of crows.

Kevin went dirt biking up the mountain and got pricked on his wrist by a wasp, though that was unprovoked. He bee-bombed the nest which was on a fence, and at the top of the loop he texted me a photo of his scenic view.

In the afternoon, four of the kids were drawing on ancient computer paper—the kind with tiny holes along the sides and perforated edges—that my grandmother gave to me before she passed away. A sister came by and told me she was pissed off with her neighbor who, upon mysteriously seeing the food bowls though they were hidden, kept going onto her property and overfeeding her pets. And her husband mentioned how it wasn't fair the other brother-in-law kept catching so many fish at the river, using his children to cheat the limit, while the other boats around him weren't catching any.

I began to draw on Trevor's paper, asking him and his cousin if they could guess what I was making. "A cloud?" they said. "A flower?" When I added the bottom part, they got it. As you can see, Trevor helped me color small areas.

Then there was the incident. The two other boys continued on with their coloring, but the littlest one casually made a mark on his big brother's paper without knowing what he was doing. Well. The big brother was distraught about that minor offense and cried inconsolably for about ten minutes, all the while scratching at his eczema with his fingernails. Eczema runs in the family. They get it from my mother-in-law, apparently.

The brother-in-law forgot his can of beer on our picnic table and fruit flies were congregating on it. When I got around to giving it to him, I mentioned the fruit flies but he didn't care.

Kevin drove Tamara to a birthday slumber party (of course!) and returned in time for all of us to gather in a circle around a crackling fire and have a barbeque. I brought the shrimp dip because, you know... I'm shrimpy. I was amazed and thankful for tasty food and family and pleasant conversation!

Yesterday we got home, picked up Tamara from the birthday party and at two o'clock decided to walk to Dairy Queen for ice-cream. Tamara ordered a Kit Kat blizzard, the rest of us strawberry sundaes. I don't know if Kevin enjoyed it much; he looked ticked off about something. Trevor accidentally jabbed himself in his side with a stick on the way home and showed me his faintly bleeding scratch when we got to the driveway.

Overall, a memorable family vacation. No complaints here.

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