Saturday, March 30, 2013

Biscuits and Jelly

It felt good to sleep in. Mike broke out the crescent rolls. I can smell them, even though the door is closed. With that smell, I am once again camping at Rough River in Kentucky.

It would be morning though I'd have no idea what time. I would be seven, eight, nine, or ten years old. Much after ten and my camping days would have been suspended because of my dad's cancer.

I would have been swimming after getting up quietly near dawn and grabbing my wet bathing suit off the cord strung between two trees. My parents would have been trying to sleep in. I would have luxuriated in the fact that the water was warmer than the air. I'm sure that when the call for breakfast came out, I would have realized I'd forgotten to grab my towel. I'd shiver in the morning air as I'd head straight for Grandma and Grandpa's camper door. The door would squeal as I opened it and leaned in, not even stepping onto their steps, just lying there dripping, with my arms and shoulders on their narrow camper floor. Then, grandma would have dropped a warm flaky biscuit onto my wet hand. I would have jumped up to the table to slather as much margarine and grape jelly as it would hold. I would leap out of their door, not even using their stairs and watch the dust puff up and layer my wet blue Keds. I would have forgotten the chill as I paced around the damp campfire ring, eating my biscuit.

No one would have judged my breakfast. No one made me clean my plate or eat the dreaded egg when we camped. My brother, sister, cousins, and I would eat on the fly, dodging between our mom's bacon and Grandma's biscuits. I remember her making three pans of them sometimes. By the end, I would have been peeling up each layer of biscuit to put jelly in between, about nine layers in all. It looked like a miniature layer cake. Grandma never yelled at me for eating too much jelly. Why would she? She loved jelly as much as I did.

I would have had some jelly on my face as I finally ran back out to the water in my wet bathing suit and Keds. I would have grabbed my brown plaid life belt out of Grandpa's boat and put it on. My dad required us to wear them though we could all swim like frogs. If I'd been the first back to the water, I could have grabbed the best inner tube, the one that didn't go flat in the water or whose valve didn't poke me in the ribs as I wrestled with it. My goal would have been to take a standing dive off that inner tube before the taste of jelly faded from my mouth. I can remember the flying feeling of taking a running leap off the end of the dock with that old inner tube under one arm.

I loved camping breakfasts.

Thank you for listening, jb

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