I’ve just finished reading Kimberly Collins Kalicky’s new book, Away at a Camp in Maine. Like me, she has fond memories of her childhood camp vacations (Unity Pond for me, Crescent Lake for Kalicky), and as an adult she has continued the tradition with her husband and children. Anyone who has vacationed at a camp in Maine will identify with Kalicky’s book. One of the chapters is titled “I don’t like spiders and snakes.” Well, me either, but those of us who love camp often have to share our space with these critters. Camp life, mind you, is definitely not for the squeamish.
When our children were teenagers, I reminded them that if they wanted to continue to spend summer vacations at camp when they were adults, they had better choose mates who were not finicky about what we call “camp stuff.” Leeches (in Maine, we call them blood suckers) on your feet? That’s just camp stuff. Dock spiders as big as chipmunks? Camp stuff. Water snakes and snapping turtles. Ants in the sugar bowl and mice in the attic-----camp stuff, all.
Our children are grown and married now, with families of their own. They join us at the lake for at least a week every July. In fact, they travel long distances just to be here. If their spouses are squeamish, I would know it by now. Everybody here seems to deal well with camp stuff after all.