Camping trip shows father’s love

By Clyde Davis: Local columnist

What is your best memory of your dad ? I hope that you have some positive ones. I hope, in fact, that you have so many, that you cannot answer the question.

I remember the football games and wrestling matches he attended, but they are not the most precious memories. He loved those sports anyway, he had participated in them himself, and so though it meant a lot that he attended, it was no surprise.

The most precious memory was the weekend at Pymatuning, my senior year in high school.

Pymatuning is a large lake between Pittsburgh and Erie, and the reason was simple as to why this memory was most precious.

It was a camping t rip. My father hates — absolutely hates — camping.

We are talking about a man who, in order to fulfill his service in World War II, joined the Navy because his brother, in the Army at the time, reminded him that in the Navy, he would usually, if not always, have a real bunk to sleep in and a real table to eat on.

We are talking about a man whose idea of roughing it is staying at the Holiday Inn.

We are talking about a man who loves the outdoors but doesn’t see any reason to stay there after dark or, in his own words, “Why would I ‘get away’, to be less comfortable than I am at my house ?”

So when he volunteered to be one of three dads chaperoning a group of teenage boys on a camping trip to the lake, it was a real act of love.

Especially when it rained all night on Friday, starting before we had the tents set up.

Especially when we, in our kids’ tent, entertained ourselves by singing variations on “Blue Moon” until 1 a.m. We still didn’t understand, though I do now, why the three men wanted their own “dads” tent.

It was because we were not yet, in their eyes nor in reality, really civilized.

Especially when we had to make frequent trips into town because Dean and Sam kept drinking all the Cokes.

Sometimes, when I am talking to my dad, he will make comments about my uncle and aunt, who travel in their fifth wheeler, and how to him, that is not any kind of vacation.

Ironically, it isn’t to me, either. Being in the outdoors means being in the outdoors. Tents not aluminum. I am opposite of my dad in that respect.

But I remember that time, 35 years ago, when he put his own wishes aside to make some 18 year olds happy.

I love you, dad.

Clyde Davis is pastor of First Presbyterian Church in Portales and a college instructor. He can be contacted at: