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remembering Memorial Day Weekend (finally)

When DH and I hooked up 16 or so years ago, we did a lot of camping together. Whenever we left for a camping trip we'd take pictures in the car of the departure. Though we've only camped once before with Jack it seemed even more appropriate to capture the image of everyone in the car as we left Tucson for Lake Roosevelt on Saturday morning.

Here's Jack, surrounded by his Pokemon stuffies and preparing to bite into that big bagel, which will momentarily become bloody after knocking loose his seventh tooth.

Here's DH, nervous at having his picture snapped.

Here's my obligatory self-portrait.

Cassie came too. She was a hoot and a headache, as usual.

Saturday morning continued the unusual weather we had on Friday with temperatures barely creeping past 70 degrees, extremely unusual for the end of May in southern Arizona. And on Friday rain poured from the skies. We went camping anyway.

Lake Roosevelt is the largest of the Salt River Lakes, formed in 1911 by the construction of the Theodore Roosevelt Dam in Tonto National Forest. At the time, it was the highest masonry dam ever built. The bridge was completed in 1990; before that you had to drive across the top of the dam!

The sun peeks through, bringing perfect weather.

Jack at our site, S121, directly across from S120, where our hosts parked their truck-camper. We'd been invited on this trip by acquaintances from the preschool: DH and Eric work together on the playground committee. I know Eric's wife, Karen, in passing, and taught their son, August, in summer camp two years ago. August is a year younger than Jack. They'd played together before but really got the opportunity to get to know each other over the weekend.

Here's Tiger in the doorway of Karen and Eric's sweet setup. Cassie and Tiger didn't get along as well as Jack and August. Cassie and Tiger merely tolerated each other.

Eric and DH get along well together, and have more of a friendship than I have with Karen. I'd told DH, when he suggested we go on this trip, that I felt awkward going with people for whom I'd essentially supplied the service of childcare. In truth I would have felt awkward about going with anyone. I come from a family that didn't do things with other people.

But it was so much more fun for Jack to have somebody to play with. And more fun for me to share the responsibility of cooking for everyone. And more fun for Dave, because Eric has a boat. And Eric drinks beer. And talks about home improvement projects.

I didn't take many pictures that first afternoon. We set up camp then explored the Jumping Cholla campground, which had a fabulous playground for the kids. While we were playing there Jack's tooth came out. Then, as he was building a sandcastle, he got railroaded and somersaulted by Cassie and Tiger, who were getting to know each other in a rather aggressive fashion. Karen and I talked to a park ranger who told us he'd lived in the area for 20 years and never seen the lake level so high. All of the lakeside campsites were under water. The tops of trees stood up from the water, and many saguaros were wading.

Sunday morning, preparing for a day on the lake. See those peaks behind DH? That's snow on them thar hills.

We packed lunch, then loaded and hitched the boat.

We brought the dogs. What else were we supposed to do with them?

It's cold on the boat, despite the sun. Jack sat up front with Karen, August, and Eric. I sat in back and held Cassie's harness to keep her from jumping into the water.

I think she liked it. She looks happy, right?

Jack looks happy. He loved it, too.

We parked the boat in the waters between the bridge and the dam, a place where there usually isn't any water.

There's somebody else's boat. And the damn old dam.

August in the water. I don't swim in open water, so I had to trust him when he said, "The water's fine!"

This is as close as Jack got to the water. Until he discovered Tubing, that is.

First, Karen and August went.

Then Dave and Jack went.

Then August and Jack went together.

Jack loved it.

The next day, Jack went by himself. Watching him from the boat, I could see he was singing, and smiling, and with the wind blowing his hair back from his forehead he looked so babyish. An odd juxtaposition of independence and childish exuberance. Karen said, "That's the look of pure bliss."

August drove the boat home.

We had a good time. And we'll probably go again.


Anonymous said…
Gomen kudasai.
Momma_Dee said…
It looks like you had a great weekend and certainly one that Jack will remember.
Ana said…
What's with the apology from philippine lottery?

Absolutely loved this photo journal. Favorite pic: Jack in the boat. He looks so content.
Thanks for sharin' this!

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