May 2-4. It’s the symbolic beginning of the Canadian summer. The irony is that the weather is rarely summer-like. Camping over the long weekend used to be a given for me. It meant 3 days of bonding with friends through laughter, music, food and beer. Lots of beer. I remember one rainy morning when we were all sitting around the picnic tables in the dining tent. We were all in various states of hungover, ranging from mildly to don’t-talk-about-food-or-I’ll-vomit. Someone casually asked “I wonder who will be the first to crack a beer this morning.” My best friend and I looked at each other briefly and the race was on! We climbed over tables and friends in a race to the coolers. That moment was such a cartoonish scene, that it’s stayed with me all of these years and still makes me giggle.
Of course, the added humour isn’t lost on me, that I won the race to the first beer of the day and fast forward 15 years to today where I count each day of sobriety. Although, this memory isn’t about my life today, it’s about the beauty of past May 2-4’s.
My husband and I began dating 14 May 2-4 weekends ago. Although he absolutely detests camping, he was a good enough sport to visit our camping gang that year. He slept in his friend’s car that night, so I’m hesitant to say he “camped” that weekend. It’s more like he “visited.” He did camp with us one more time, but that was the end of his outdoorsy career. Although he never says a negative word when I camp without him, so I think that’s a reasonable compromise.
While the weather was rarely ideal, and some of our camping spots were less than optimal (we all woke up one year to very soft ground beneath our tents because a septic tank overflowed through the night), the overall memory is that of a lot of laughter shared over campfires.
In June, the core group of ladies from these camping trips are all coming together for a concert. It’s been 13 years since I’ve seen some of these friendly faces and I can’t wait to see them again, reuniting over Tom Petty and a beer (club soda with lime for me).