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Marshmallow Bandit

Residents June 15, 2012
It seemed like a great idea at the time, a two night camping trip, plus 5 children, 2 adults, and two cars packed full of just the “necessities”– a wonderful way to kick off summer break, take part in a little R&R, and bond as a family.  Well, at the very least, create some memorable moments that my kids would pass on to theirs, for generations to come.  In my perfect world, tucked ever so neatly away in my dreams, this was a foolproof plan; however, I would soon come to learn that the 3 strike rule that accounts for the end to many things in life, would quickly apply to this fantasized trip to the Great Outdoors. After arriving, we unloaded the kids, set up our campsite, and allowed the kids a “longer leash,” in order to go exploring in the woods (STRIKE 1).   Before the campfire was given an adequate amount of time to warm the mountain pie makers, 3 out of the 5 kids came barreling out of the brush – scraped, wet, and whining.  Despite those empty warnings and threats to stay out of the water, given prior to our arrival, a simple game of truth or mostly dare ensued.  The crazy sibling rivalry outweighed the unforeseen consequences in the eyes of my children.  Hence, the sloshy sneakers, making their way toward our campsite, exposed the winners and losers.  After creating a makeshift clothesline, swapping wet clothes for dry ones, and slapping on a few band-aids and kisses, all was well on the home front – well, for approximately the next 10 minutes.  After that small amount of time elapsed, an ear piercing scream sliced through the serene calm of nature, sending this mother of 5 into an adrenaline filled frenzy.  My 6 year old daughter decided to take it upon herself to teach herself how to ride a two wheeler – minus the safety net of training wheels and a helmet.  Barreling down the hill and into the woods, she lay under her brilliant idea, tires spinning, long blonde hair camouflaged by leaves and dirt (STRIKE 2).  Once the balance of peace and quiet was restored to our natural surroundings, and my little girl was uncovered and given a scooter, the night sky began to cover our campsite, like a warm familiar blanket.  Ending the evening like most folks do, we proceeded to unpack the three most important ingredients to any campout:  Chocolate bars, marshmallows, and graham crackers.  Satisfied with the strategic layout covering our picnic table, we banded together in search of the perfect sticks to toast those fluffy little white balls of sticky yumminess (STRIKE 3 - Leaving our campsite unattended).  While we were invading the homes of our nocturnal forest friends, a masked critter, masquerading as a marshmallow bandit, was eliminating the key ingredient for our campfire creation.  As we were carrying out our sticks, Ricky the Raccoon was carrying in our marshmallows – taking our smores for ransom.  And there it was 1, 2, 3, STRIKES, and we were out, at least for that night anyway. All in all, our impromptu camping trip, although not perfectly executed, turned out to be pretty memorable.  Children grew up a little, parents learned to loosen up and let go a bit, and most importantly, memories were made.  And the 3 strikes that sent us packing up and retiring for the night, would be the 3 things that my children’s children would be talking about and passing on for generations to come. By Shana Hudson