Camp Ben! It’s A Family Tradition!
Here’s a little something I wrote last year in anticipation of the big event coming up…
“Let’s talk about a little thing called camping ya’ll! Â And were not talking about going out to the woods, pitching a tent, daring the elements to get you type of camping. Â We are talking about pitching the pop up camper, making sure it has a great power supply for the AC unit. Figuring out how to stock the camp refrigerator and not blow said power supply with the load. And lets not forget about the indoor/outdoor carpet that covers the rocky grassy ground where we will also pitch our canopies to block out as much sun as possible. Under that canopy is where we will set up our multitude of box fans and misters so we stay nice and cool while sitting out in the 100 degree Texas heat enjoying “nature”. That “nature” by the way isn’t of the cute little bambi next to the bubbling stream version but the shirtless, beer guzzling, possibly hairy and definitely sweaty, two legged, upright walking (most of the time) fellow camper. They are always filled with great conversation and wonderful stories that are shared with you as they visit your campsite or you drift over to theirs.
Yep, camping-lite is what we like to call it over Camp Ben. Â Are you seeing the images now? Camp Ben is an old Confederate camp ground (And don’t get your panties in a twist. It’s not about discrimination and white supremacy and all that nasty crap. Â It’s about family and don’t forget the beer!) where each year 1000’s of “family” members gather (Cuz many are related to each other in too many strange ways) for the reunion. This year marks the 113th year (now 114th!) for this event. Â I’m sure way back 100 years ago it was a place of memory and celebration of the lives of those who served for the Confederacy in the Civil War, but now it’s just and excuse to get together, do things that are regarded and graded by bubba’s red-neck scale of approval. Â OH, and drink… BEER!
Camp Ben is what I usually describe to people as a week long drunk fest. Although, as we have aged it’s quickly becoming a week long challenge to see how we can bring our living rooms and kitchens to the great outdoors. Â Instead of waking up to breakfast of beer and shots of what ever hairy dog we drank the night before it’s now grilling up sausage and bacon for a great big “cowboy” breakfast. (See further down about torturing teenagers) And then right after that we start in on bar-b-q’ing dinner. Â Lunch is still usually beer. Â Sorry, can’t drift too far from tradition. Â Nope, now we are saving the hard core partying to the younger generation out there, just like we were once. Â But that doesn’t mean it’s not fun anymore. Â Now we get to do all the things that we wished we could do when we were younger, just with more respect. We don’t have to tell anyone where we are going and with who. We don’t have to beg anyone for money to spend at the carnival. And, here’s the whopper, now we can walk right up to a sheriffs deputy and give him a nice big drunk kiss and tell him you love him WITHOUT him making you dump out your beer. Â Love that one!
Back then, being a hell raising teenager, did have it’s advantages, however. When you were crazy drunk enough to go cop kissing you usually weren’t arrested but were taken back to camp. But wait! I’m sure all you parents out there are thinking the kid would get it then. But nope, punishment wasn’t handed down like that since usually the camp you told the cop you “belonged” to wasn’t yours but a friend of your parents. Who would in turn lie through their teeth for you and tell the cop that “Yep, she belongs to me. Â Get over here you pain in the ass. Your momma’s gonna skin you alive when she gets back…” (Love you Morris!) Then they just make you wash their truck or pick up trash the next day or something equaling embarrassing for pay back for” lyin’ to the law”.
Yep, those were the days. Day’s I know that my daughter will enjoy too. As a parent I’m not really as open minded to the drinking and carrying on thing as you may be thinking right now but out there, at Camp Ben, it’s still a different way of life. Â Slower, safer. Where real lessons are learned from those night binges as your “parents” (or who ever took care of you the night before) cooks up those huge “cowboy” breakfasts and you have to sit and gobble up every bite on your plate which is complete torture to the hungover teenager. Â I think we would all starve out there if it wasn’t for having to cook for those rotten kids to teach them a lesson. Instead of grounding, taking away TV or driving privileges, punishments are handed down in much simpler, and in the eyes of the hungover teenager, harsher way as they puke their guts out behind the camper, praying that they aren’t standing on a thistle bush or in poison ivy.
By now you are wondering why I’m telling you all this. Well, because I’m a Camp Ben’er. Â and today marks the Monday before we go to camp on Friday. Today is the day where I pull my pop up camper into my nice suburban drive way and start re-adjusting my red-neck hat on my head. Cuz by Friday I want it to fit and stay put for the full week I’m “roughing it”. Â If you feel like dropping by for a beer and a story then come on over and “set a spell”. Just don’t get drunk and pass out in my camp. You might end up up duct taped to the flag poll.”