Camping makes memories

Or in my case brings back memories. When we were camping, up at Lake Chicot state park, I told Beth I was going to use the Coleman lantern even if we did have electricity. There is just something about the hiss of a lantern that sounds like camping. I know the old white gas lanterns are dated and the new propane ones are faster. However it is just part of the disposable age. It started with Bic lighters, pens and razors and continues in our society today. We live in a throw away society.

I also still use an old Coleman 413G gas stove and a 1950’s era catalytic heater. The heater and lantern were courtesy of Bet’s dad, Coach Don Cummins. I rescued them from his old shop and brought them back to life.

My love of camping started back in elementary school when my brother, George, bought me an army play set that included a genuine reproduction pup tent. Set up under the big oak tree, in the front yard, it was the scene of many campaigns and battles. Of course once it got dark you headed into headquarters in the house.

In the little community where I was raised there were many boys within a year or two of age that attended Lamar church. This lead to many bike rides and eventually a camping trip. It was to take place in Mr. Cedrick Fletcher’s hay barn. We snuggled down in the hay loft for our adventure.

Dalton Oliver had cleared and was farming the old McElwee place and it included a strip of river bank along side the Bayou Macon. We loaded a piece of “Visqueen” plastic for a tent some rope and cooking gear on the bikes and set off for a trip. We camped on the bank of the river and cooked rabbit over the open fire. All of us had a sleeping bag, knife and flashlight we kept ready to go. We also were fortunate enough to eventually buy and old camper and put on the river.

But back to the lanterns. It was going to our deer camp that I was first introduced to the workings and sounds of a Coleman lantern. We had some 12 volt lights rigged for early morning or coming in after dark but the lantern was the main light.

I guess all those nights under the stars and out on adventures fueled the passion I still have for camping and the outdoors. I don’t hunt anymore, the old bones don’t like the cold hard ground, I know sleep in a comfy pop up camper but I still love cooking with cast iron on a Coleman stove and listening to the hiss of a lantern.

Dads on this Fathers day make a vow to take your kids camping. Teach them how to make a fire, cook over an open fire and enjoy the great outdoors.

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