Dear Coleman Outdoor Gear Company:
Thanks for the midnight zipper of the tent next to mine. It was only spooky alone in the tent if you forgot there was a sister on each side of you and parents across the clearing. Somebody always had to sneak out for a granola bar or to use the bathroom or to walk around the quiet campground with the embers burning low or to have a last cup of coffee or to check for ghosts. (That last one might have been me.)
Thanks for the wake-up sizzle of bacon over the little camping stove. By fall I would be a vegetarian, but thank goodness I wasn't yet. Something about Dad standing at the picnic table, making a perfectly respectable breakfast that you could have in a kitchen, made me feel whole. When the food came, it seemed to appear overnight and it tasted better because of how happy everyone was that it was there.
Thanks for the afternoon rattle of ice beginning to melt in the cooler. I froze to the wrist pulling out wet soda cans and handing them to my sisters, happy to claim the job that meant I got to play with the ice cubes. Dozens of gnats drowned in that cooler, but the soda tasted so good on a sweltering day that it felt like a lifesaver, so I figured it was a toss-up.
Thanks for the bedtime hiss of the lantern, turned a little lower. Underneath, I could hear the rumble of voices, storytelling from the day, occasional laughter lulling me into a warm, fuzzy, comfortable sleep, glasses still on, flashlight still burning, book still open on my chest, until somebody's tent zipper woke me in an hour or two.
Thanks for the house, minus the walls.
Thanks for being the walls.