Camping with the Bare Necessities

A Trip to Relive

They were bored. Staying at the stale Holiday Inn seemed monotonous. The family craved an adventure. The conditioned air seemed stuffy, and the chlorinated pool made their skin itch. The family craved an adventure! Lorelei came upon a pamphlet that read, “Float Trip, Rich’s Last Resort.” She said, “Let’s go!” Excitedly, with fifty dollars they made a Wal-Mart sweep. Tent, charcoal, eggs, pancake mix, foil, bacon, syrup, bologna, bread, lettuce, tomato, tea, and cheese were the bare necessities. They loaded the Dodge Ram Charger and headed for Rich’s Last Resort. The twenty-mile journey from Rolla, Missouri seemed to take forever as they traveled the curves and swerves on the Ozark highway until it seemed road met water at the Big Piney River in the Mark Twain Forest of Missouri. It was a journey to remember.

The next day Rich’s bus transported the family to the top of the river run. He reminded, “Field corn with a sweet corn taste is ready to harvest.” Phil thought, “We will have BLT’s, sweet corn, and sweet iced tea for supper tonight! Two canoes were set into the water. One carried dad and daughter, and another was loaded with mother and son. For miles, the family felt they owned the river. Stops for swimming and picnicking brought the family closer. The water felt alive! Revived family time brought the family closer together.

The family remembers everything cooked over the open fire. There were no plates, eating utensils, nor pots and pans. Aluminum foil browned bacon and steamed corn. Syrup added a peaches and cream flavor to the field corn. Sticks, pronged through bread, assisted the toasting process. The simple, yet extraordinary, taste of that supper stays afloat; a driftwood that rolls never ending to the sea. Every summer when the field corn blisters the family relives this meal over an open fire.

The family is growing and filling space like an abundant rain. Within the flood, big rocks stay planted as rituals remain. The Puckett family continues to tour Missouri River floats. None matches the quiet peaceful Big Piney River. The kids have grown and made families of their own. This trip remembers mom, dad, sister, and brother. It was an innocent time before school activities, extended families, and networking. Before stretched family ties. There are new members of the family, but the old Last Resort supper stays the same. Family changes are exciting and adventurous while constants offer security and stability. What would it be like if the family relived their trip to Rich’s Last Resort? What would change? What would remain the same?