Growing up, we had an orange tent that was made out of thick canvas and was held together by what can only be explained as a bunch of color-coded, right-angle, aluminum poles. You know the kind: the ones that rattled incessantly until you got to the campground?
This tent was amazing … amazingly hot! I remember on at least two occasions I saw my spirit guide, or maybe that was the heat getting to me. Kidding of course, but no matter what temperature it was outside, it was at least 20 degrees warmer inside that tent.
My Dad loved to take my sister and me all over the Midwest, where we’d pitch our tent and stake our claim on family fun for the weekend. We’d venture to Camp Dearborn, state campgrounds and even head down to Kings Island where you could camp right in the park!
Our coolers would be packed with all the essentials that you need on a camping trip — hot dogs, pop and potato salad. But on one fateful trip Dad splurged and got bacon in a can! Who knew this was even a possibility? Somehow some mad scientist was able to spiral in a whole pound of bacon into a can similar in size to a pork and beans can. To keep the bacon “fresh” it was packed in salt; it truly was a cardiologist’s down payment on a new sports car.
So why bring this up 30 years later? Well it’s one of those memories that my sister and I always bring up and still laugh about. We also reminisce about other road trips we took as kids, like when we took a three-day drive to Dallas to visit family with five people crammed in a 1978 Pontiac Grand Prix.
My Dad, a single father at the time of these two stories, tried his best to help us create childhood memories that would last a lifetime. Even when I was acting like it was the worst thing in the world to do, as some adolescent boys tend to do.
As a parent now, I rely on a lot of things my Dad did with us when helping raise our girls. He taught me my sister and I it’s not what you have, but who you share it with that counts … even if it’s bacon in a can.
– Jim Pesta is a Parenting Program participant and father of two girls.