Childhood Campfires

When we were little, Papa used to take us grandbabies camping on the top of the hill behind Granny and Papa’s house.  We would haul the kids’ picnic table to the top of the hill (read: Papa would put it in the back of his truck and drive it to the top of the hill for us) and Granny would load us up with hotdogs, buns and marshmallows for a lunch by the campfire.  We always had a big time.  I can smell the marshmallows burning just thinking about it.  Oh man, those were the days.

I recently found some photos of these camping adventures in some old family albums.

Here’s my sister Eugene at age 3, roasting a branch and channeling her inner Pocahontas.  She was wearing her idol’s shirt for good vibes.

On this particular afternoon, it appears I was thrilled to be roughing it in the backyard at the Fisher-Price picnic table.  Cousin Lauren looks significantly less thrilled.

A few minutes later, there was quite a shift in the mood.  Cousin Lauren is proudly displaying a walnut as I manage a smirk and continue to slouch.  My dad would be so displeased with my posture in these pictures.

And, for Pocahontas, it’s 5 o’clock somewhere.

Here is Pocahontas doing a little interpretive dance after her beverage.  Or maybe she had to go to the bathroom.  Either way, she was really getting the most out of our afternoon in the wilderness.

Always an adventure “camping” with Papa.

Y’all keep it real,


Clown in the Door

When I visited Kentucky in the summer as a child, I spent my time between Granny and Papa’s house and Grandmother’s house.  Because I didn’t have any cousins on my Mom’s side of the family at the time, I often requested that my cousin Lauren come with me to play at Grandmother’s house.

Naturally, we spent a lot of time playing with barbies and babydolls.  Occasionally, however, I took it upon myself to tell my poor cousin Lauren a story about Grandmother’s old house.

One day, I made up some absurd story that there was a clown trapped in this door.  I told Lauren that the clown died in there, which made the glass wavy, and that its spirit haunted the house.

I really don’t understand what my logic (if any) was in crafting this highly plausible tale, but cousin Lauren seemed to eat it right up.

I think it is relevant that the telling of this story coincided with my Nancy Drew phase.

Although it seems my goal here was to freak out my cousin, I was most successful in freaking myself out.

That darn door still gives me the creeps to this day.

I guess it serves me right.

Y’all play nice,


Rite Aid

When my sister and I would visit our family in Kentucky in the summer as young kids, we had a bit of a ritual.  My cousins, my sister and I would make the long-awaited trip to….


To the average person, that may not seem very exciting.  In fact, for many people it falls into the category of “errands,” thus making such a trip dull and uninteresting.

My cousins, my sister and I, however, lived for Rite Aid in the summer.  Papa would give us each $10 or $20 and take us to Rite Aid, where we really knew how to stretch a buck.

My sister, Eugene (who is 4 years younger than I am), and my cousin Kristen (who is 5 1/2 years younger than I am) were still pretty small when we would go to Rite Aid so they bought toys and bubbles and things.  My cousin Lauren (who is 2 ½ years younger than I am) and I, however, were quite serious about our purchases that would entertain us for the next three weeks.  We spent our money on…


Exciting, no?!


Oh. Ok.  Well, Lauren and I thought it was exciting.

We would play “passport service,” a game we invented and probably spent hundreds, if not thousands, of hours playing when we were young.  To play passport service, we needed paper and index cards and pens and highlighters and hole-punchers and paper clips and lots of office-y things.  And gum.  We always left room in the budget for a package of bubblicious gum.  That was our one splurge.  Other than that, our purchases were strictly business.

You probably think I’m making this up, but I have evidence:

See how proudly we were displaying our Rite Aid bags? We were very serious and enthusiastic about Rite Aid.  Papa was just glad to have his polecats together.

Sadly, about 10 years ago, the Rite Aid went out in Burkesville.  We wore black for a month.

Not really, but we certainly took it hard.

There is currently a cowboy store in the former Rite Aid location and I can’t bring myself to go in there because I haven’t gotten over Rite Aid closing yet.

R.I.P. Burkesville Rite Aid.   Thanks for all of the good times and practical purchases.

Y’all come back now, ya hear?