We are asked for our campfire memories this week. All of mine started as an adult.
We never went camping when I was a kid, although I did commandeer my brother’s pup tent some Summer nights when a cousin would come to stay. We’d sleep there for the night, but no fire.
We had a few big camp fires when I had my sons in Cub Scouts at Scout camps, but they were nothing to write about. The Husband took over for Boy Scouts and the rock climbing, repelling, whitewater rafting, etc. I know that he has stories, to which I am not privy.
We had a great group of parents whose boys were in Scouts with ours and almost all became auxiliary leaders. One time, a camping trip for the leaders and spouses was suggested. I was grateful that they decided on a potluck campfire instead, at a campground where many Scout camp functions had occurred, (Actually, Lincoln’s Boyhood Home).
It was a COLD evening. I made food that was extra hot and wrapped it in a huge bundle. I was left out of the loop, as the other women were in more communication, (that happens to me a lot), and others knew there would be electrical outlets at the pavilion, so they brought crockpots.
The guys made a HUGE fire in the large circular fire place, yet most of we gals could not get warm, even dressed in layers with blankets over us. It was an otherwise enjoyable night, but I was grateful again when we all called it a night.
We were invited to one campfire about a year after we got here. We went to church with people whose children really got along with ours, and they invited us to a [Kentucky] Derby party. (The first and last I ever attended or will, on principle that has nothing to do with the story)
The day of the party the ‘hostess’ called me to ask me if we had clean sticks for the kids to roast their hot dogs and marshmallows. (We have a yard; they had a big piece of property.)
She called again to ask me to bring buns. (There was only a country store with exorbitant prices between her place and ours.)
She asked me how many hot dogs my kids were likely to eat, so I bought more wieners.
She called again to ask me to pick up ice, for which she would reimburse me.
Mind you, she knew that I was already bringing a big cake as the dessert, because besides my family and hers, her mother, sister , brother-in—law, the niece and nephew were coming , plus a couple of her neighbor kids and their mother whom we also knew.
My nickname for this woman became “Pearl” as in “Pearl Mesta”, Washington, D.C.’s famous “Hostess With the Mostess”. Mesta’s parties were lavish, attended by celebrities, heads of state and everyone who was anyone in the world. She anticipated every need and want of her guests and made it look effortless. The woman who had the Derby party was so NOT in the same league.
However, I have ,(and am still making), campfire memories because we have a fire ring in our backyard. It grows bigger every year. My kids enjoyed it all the time growing up and now my grandkids are using it into their teen years.
Sometimes we have one kid, often all three. We have had their friends join. We add fallen branches, logs from trees and let brush dry on the stack, so whenever anyone wants a fire, it’s ready, and so are we. I always keep hot dogs in the freezer, beans in the cabinet, plus marshmallows, graham crackers and chocolate bars for S’mores.
When my boys were in Cubs Scouts, we’d also make Hobo dinners for them and their friends. I’d keep hamburger patties in the freezer, and add potatoes, carrots, onions and sometimes other veggies, usually green beans or peas, sometimes cut ears of corn. We’d wrap them with salt and pepper in aluminum foil and put them on the fire. They were always a hit.
We don’t have to wait for the kids, though, if you want to come over for a fire some evening. I have Polish sausage in the freezer; hamburger and thin steaks are there, too, so we can also make Hobo dinners, and jazz them up a bit. I can pull out more sophisticated veggie dishes from there as well, and homemade hummus for dips. There is always salsa and spreads to be had, and a variety of cheeses.
Who says that a campfire can’t be sophisticated?
Come any time!