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Monday, September 2, 2013

Rituals

We go up to Maine and camp for a few days every year in mid-July. It's a summer ritual now, and we plan to continue the ritual into the childhood of our children. 

On the first business day of February, at 9am EST sharp, I'm sitting and waiting at my computer for the Maine State Park reservation system to open the floodgates for accepting camping reservations. There was a time that I had a cigarette in hand, waiting anxiously in the morning, delaying my trip into the office in the snow, just to make camping reservations for a summer that seemed a lifetime away.

We always go shopping at the local thrift shops, as far out as into Portland. We'll spend a day looking for treasures in the thrift stores of Maine, which is time well spent.

Ahead of time, I can some chili, black beans, and other things to easily crack open and pour into a pot over a Coleman stove and we don't have to fuss about dinner. It's a lot easier to sit by a fire and munch on simple meals and treat food as an after thought. The lake is more present in your mind, and so is the damp swim suit on the line that you're considering throwing on for an evening dip in the lake with the loons, if not for the potential for rain.

The smoke from campfires waft over the lake and slowly move across the water, and that always pleases me to no end. The kids playing on the swing sets and on the shore seem like the last bastion of responsible, unattended child play. I remember being a teenager and making lifetime friends along those same shores. 

Now, as adults, we go places and do things while we're there. We try to hit up Ricky's Diner in Bridgton on our way to the Kancamagus Highway for a cool, relaxing afternoon on the river, or possibly to Conway for a day of indulgence and buying silly things that are over-priced, but are more like a seasonal treat for adults. One year, a new pair of Birkenstocks for Chris, this year a new leather bag from The Beggar's Pouch

We're excited at the prospect of raising kids at Sebago Lake for a week in the summer. I can only hope that they'll enjoy, appreciate it, and love it like we do. I have a whole compilation of self-published stories from the camp, written by different generations of lake-goers. There's something timeless about the campground, and I hope it's something our future generations get to enjoy.

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