It was the summer of ’82 and the Boles family was headed for the woods, attempting to build on the memories of past camping trips. Once again, we were headed to River Rest Campground, hoping for more adventures of the type our family had enjoyed there in past years. River Rest was located close to the forlorn town of Washington, California, and as the name suggested, it rested along a river… though the river hardly rested. The swift current was perfect for tubing, and eventually lead to a quiet swimming hole, just right for cliff diving or lazy picnics. A short hike a few miles downstream brought us to our secret place; it was truly the heart of joy of our youth. The woodsy, tropical lagoon was nestled amongst small caverns and ferns. Surrounding the lagoon were unique rock formations that, through years of erosion, had created incredible natural water slides. Here, we would wear ourselves out, refusing to leave until we could only barely handle the wearisome trip back to camp, or until we were kicked out for trespassing on private property! Either way, we had Mom to contend with upon returning late to camp. Julie, being the eldest, was a master at working that situation. Her younger brother and sister would remain silent and let her do all the talking. Mom’s anger never lasted long. It was as if she was reminded of her own exuberant past, living vicariously through our adventures. Hoping, in fact, to be included in the next one.
Nighttime entertainment included swing dancing in the campground square, and guitar solos by the campfire, accompanied by mom singing Kumbaya unbearably off key. But the best moments from that summer vacation were the quirky little episodes, the most memorable of which is certainly the Porta-Potty debacle, starring Julie, Mom and little sis. At that time, the most convenient outhouse was located on top of a grassy hill, just up the road from camp.
Mom never forgave us for that little stunt, but we did catch her laughing about it some time later. She wasn’t the type to hold a grudge. She also wasn’t the type to “take any crap” so to speak. Hopefully our children don’t yield to similar impulses during their practical joke years! Karma can be a dangerous thing. All that we can say is God bless you Mom!