Gathering Around the Campfire

DISCLAIMER: This is the wrong topic for this week. For some reason, I thought today was October 1. So I guess I’m going to have to write about this week’s topic next month!

This week’s topic is one I suggested: campfire or bonfire memories. Not being an outdoors type of person, I don’t participate in either of them now. We don’t have a fire pit here, and the groups I belong to are not inclined to meet outdoors. But I have some fond memories of times when I did.

Camp Fire manual

This manual was well-used. I loved earning all those pretty beads!

Back in grade school, I belonged to the Camp Fire Girls. During the summer, my parents would send me to Camp Keewano, located in the central part of Michigan’s lower peninsula near the Huron-Manistee National Forest. The camp is no longer in operation, but I remember having a lot of fun doing crafts, singing, and sitting around the fire in the evening. Our counselors would tell us stories and I remember thinking how much fun it was to be around girls rather than just my two brothers.

In high school, we’d have bonfires to celebrate Homecoming. Since I was a student council officer I’d attend those, and have a great time. It was a time of optimism and enthusiasm that I loved. I didn’t attend the bonfires in college, probably because I didn’t want to go alone and didn’t know anyone else who went. In the end it’s probably good that I stayed behind, because my definition of partying activities differed from that of many others.

Rocky Mountains

I didn’t take this picture, but I saw some amazing scenery during my trip to the Rockies.

While I was in high school I joined a group of culturally diverse teenagers on a backpacking trip through the Rocky Mountains. A local filmmaker wanted to make a travelogue and recruited area teens, and I represented the very small Asian contingent. This was my first taste of real camping – we hiked, ate food prepared over the fire, and slept on the ground. I didn’t particularly enjoy the last part, but in the evening before we turned in, we’d sit around the fire and chat. Since my high school wasn’t particularly diverse, I found it interesting to learn about the ways others families did things. One particularly memorable evening, one of the older participants tried to hypnotize the rest of us. It didn’t work on me, but I remember watching some of the others as they sat up, but were unable to raise their arms!

The last time I sat around a fire was around twenty years ago. My daughters and I drove to New York State to visit my brother and his family. He had a fire pit in his backyard and one evening we sat around it, roasting marshmallows and chatting. He’s also a musician, and he took out one of his saxophones and started playing. It was a nice, relaxing evening after a day of sight-seeing and shopping.

In general, I find gatherings around the fire to be relaxing (except when hungry insects are in attendance), and fun, when you’re with people you enjoy. But I don’t enjoy them enough to go to the trouble of creating one. I appreciate daytime social events because I can see people’s faces, and for the most part I enjoy indoor gatherings because they’re generally bug-less. I suppose part of that is because I’m getting older and fussier.

What are your memories of fireside gatherings?


About Patricia Kiyono

During her first career, Patricia Kiyono taught elementary music, computer classes, elementary classrooms, and junior high social studies. She now teaches music education at the university level. She lives in southwest Michigan with her husband, not far from her five children, nine grandchildren (so far), and great-granddaughters. Current interests, aside from writing, include sewing, crocheting, scrapbooking, and music. A love of travel and an interest in faraway people inspires her to create stories about different cultures. Check out her sweet historical contemporary romances at her Amazon author page:
This entry was posted in Family, friends, lifestyles, memories, Patricia Kiyono, youth and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

7 Responses to Gathering Around the Campfire

  1. Jeff Salter says:

    well, I’ll respond to this topic now — since I didn’t check the schedule myself and would not have known you jumped a couple of weeks.
    When I was in cub scouts, I don’t remember any fires — they probably figured (wisely) that boys our age ought not to get near matches… ha. In Boy Scouts, however, I fondly remember camp fires — both the small ones our specific squad or patrol [don’t recall the terms anymore, but our sub-group were the eagles], a few the entire troop were involved in. and at least one — for a camporee — that involved multiple troops in that area.
    But more than those campfires of such organized outfits, I recall the ones at a friend’s house when he’d have 6-9 classmates over to his family acreage. Those were the best. Many fond memories… more of which I’ll try to share in a couple of weeks when the topic really comes around.


    • Patricia Kiyono says:

      I think my brothers’ Boy Scout troops had smaller groups called patrols – but that was a long time ago. Looking forward to reading about your memories next month!


  2. I was never much of a camper, and with the way things are with me now,I know that I will never camp again.However, all I had to do was see “Campfire Girls” and I remember the ads with Patrice Munsel’s ads for the group. She was a contralto, the youngest singer to ever go on stage at the Metropolitan Opera.
    I found it on Youtube!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. JC Jacobson says:

    I enjoyed this post and it brought alot of good memories.
    I used to go hiking with my Dad and brothers about twice a year and we had a lot of good times.
    Dad would make us pair up with a little brother and each little pair would set up their tent, cook, clean dishes, hunt for fire wood etc.
    It was good for us! We all ended up joining the Army or Marines and we always fared much better while “camping” than the kids who had never been before.

    Unfortunately, I got kind of “funned out” while in the military, but now that I’m out, I need to go again and try to re-live some of those old memories and make new ones with my little boys.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Patricia Kiyono says:

      I can see how those childhood experiences prepared you for life in the service! I’m sure your sons will enjoy camping with you, too. Thanks so much for stopping in!


  4. Elaine Cantrell says:

    Your post made me think of my own memories. We used to camp all the time.


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