I wrote this on Father’s Day and in celebration of all the great things Dads do for their children, I thought I’d share my most memorable times with my father.
Living in Ontario, we spent every summer camping. I have camped in many (if not all!) provincial and national parks in Ontario, Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Alberta and British Columbia. We always stayed where we could go boating and water skiing. Long before water sleds, banana boats, and tubes were on store shelves, my dad bought a blue plastic toboggan, filled it full of styrofoam and pulled us behind the boat. We had a blast!
The following article was for a column I wrote called “Growth Spurts” that appeared in the Wasaga, Stayner & Angus Sun in Ontario in the mid to late 90’s. At the time I was living in the town of Wasaga Beach which is located within provincial park areas.
My favorite childhood memories are those summer days we spent camping.
They were the days I was closest to my father because he was doing what he liked best. He was, and still is, a perfectionist. We always had the best site in camp. He would set up our large tent with a tarp to protect it from the rain. It would extend out over the door so we never got wet getting in and out or traversing to our enclosed dining tent. Our dining tent was complete with cooking and picnic tables and rainy day games.
I think he worked harder making our campsite than he did at his job!
Both our tents had ditches dug around them. If it rained – our tents never sat in puddles. He didn’t believe in waiting to see if it would rain first, it was always done, just in case.
Once the hard work of pitching tents and setting up camp was complete, dad knew how to kick back and have fun.
For my mom, fun meant reading as many romance novels she could. For my brothers and dad, it meant fishing. But to me, fun meant wandering through the woods listening to forest sounds or hearing the water gently lap the shore.
To this day, sitting by myself on a rock overlooking a lake, is my idea of heaven.
I understand Wasaga Beach is perfect for this but I don’t get any peace and quiet these days, I’m always surrounded by squeals of delight and cries of “mommy!” from my children.
My father instilled a love of nature in me. We almost always camped in provincial parks, took advantage of their nature walks and programs. Hikes were, and still are, the highlight of my vacations. We were always guaranteed to see wildlife, whether it was friendly chipmunks, deer or a bear.
I learned valuable lessons about family and environment while tenting, but I think I can impart the same knowledge from more luxurious surroundings.
One thing I can be sure of no matter what the method of transportation, the compass will always be pointed towards the wilderness of Canada’s provincial parks.
Happy Father’s Day to all the dads including mine!