Cousins and Camp Mack


The boys are 6 weeks apart-the 2 oldest girls are 6 months apart and then their is Sadie. She wallows right on the middle of it all.

They are the best of friends and love gallivanting around Camp Mack-my uncles fishing camp in Lake Wales Florida. With no wi-fi and no tv reception they are “forced” into cavorting through camp on the pimped out Camp Mack golf cart or their grandpa’s mini-golf cart that he hauled 10 hours on a trailer just for that purpose. When the batteries die they abandon the motorized toys and jump in their bikes to further explore every inch of the gritty, sandy camp.

When the Florida suns gets a little too hot they wheel into the camp fire area where they all trample into the general store for some ice cream, sodas or a piece of gum. Nobody tells them No at Camp Mack. They throw their treasures on the counter and say,”put it on Gramsey’s tab” to the lady at the counter. She doesn’t even have to ask who Gramsey is. By now the whole camp knows who these rasputins belong to.

The sun twinkles through the Spanish moss as they drop into plastic chairs around the fire pit. No one tells them to hurry. They actually engage in conversations since they electronic devices are all silent and OFF thanks to the spotty wi-fi.

Eventually we might take a boat ride to the hidden ripe swing where, despite the alligators lurking nearby, they make use of.

When the afternoon storm passes we put some crickets on Gramsey’s tab and drop a line into the brackish water. The cricket no sooner hits the water then Kinsley pulls it up with a fish on the end. No rods and reels here. Nope we are dippin’ cane poles-it at least the modern day version-into the water. The boys bait the hooks for a bit but eventually we girls get froggy and do it ourselves. It’s not long before all 50 crickets are gone. We’ve gotten a hundreds bites and 6 fish (cane poles are HARD). It’s not enough for a fish fry so we dump them back into the River and head back to sprawl out at the fire pit a little more. It’s afternoon by now so the cast of characters is different from the coffee crowd. No one is on a hurry. Everyone has time to sit and talk a spell. They acknowledge the young-uns who nod in respect.

Nighttime brings Indian leg wrestling and lots of laughs. Give the boys a few minutes and they’ve found a snake or a frog and, much to their Gramsey’s horror, bring it inside to show their Grandpa. They claim to want to know the type of snake but I think they really want him to be proud of them for catching it. Or they just want to scare the girls. It’s probably a bit if both.

The 5 if them sit, on the floor, and play with a tree frog. 14 to 4 they span and for this night they are all engages in the same thing. No fights. Not a cross word. Just cousins being cousins and friends. When the animals are gone it’s a game of baseball with a Ping pong ball as the ball and a Pringles can as a bat. Sadie right their with her all-star sister and all-star baseball player cousin-and loving every single second of it. They make up the rules as they go but no one fusses or seems to mind.

Camp Mack is Bailee having a cup of coffee with is in the morning and snuggling with her grandpa at night. Camp Mack is where no one makes you take a shower or tells you to hurry up. Camp Mack is pure, it’s simple and it’s a place where cousins will always be friends and grandparents will always be heroes. It’s a place where my children are having the same type if fun my mom had their with her cousins.

When I recently told a friend I was going to my uncles fish camp she looked at me a little oddly and said,”what do you DO there?” I think she thought I had gone a little crazy when I smiled broadly and gleefully answered, “nothing.”


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