July 15, 2009 If all goes as planned, by the time you read this, the 2009 De Boef Family Campout will be history. Even as I read that sentence back to myself, I realize that of course it won't ALL go as planned.
First of all, imperfect people are planning it—imperfect people who have no control over all sorts of variables, like emails that don't, for whatever reason, go through; flooded campsites or soggy tents; flat tires or other car trouble en route.
Second, over a hundred imperfect people are expected to get there at one time or other. Though we're a pretty laid back bunch, wouldn't you think there might be a misunderstanding or two during the long weekend we spend together? Outside? With the mosquitos and camp-style bathrooms and a likely rain shower or two? Do you think a lawn chair or water toy or two might be broken? A beach towel lost, or even left at home?
Third—nothing ever goes completely as planned! Having said that--my hat is off to some people who have done a phenomenal job of orchestrating this annual event. It's no small feat to sell the idea of camping in the middle of Iowa year after year to people who are used to vacationing on Lake Michigan, or the mountains of Utah, or in sunny California.
No, it won't be perfect. Things will go wrong. There are people who won't put a toe in the waters at Red Rock Dam—mostly Michigan folks who grew up on Michigan beaches. People like me—born and bred in Iowa, don't know the difference—we barely ever saw a beach as kids and figure water is water. (Fortunately, for those to whom it matters, nearby Pella has a very nice pool.) All in all, relationships will be built, and friendships forged around late-night campfires, and even under the shelter-house during the pop-up showers we might very well have. Oh, yes. And Mike and I will find our way every night to Mom and Dad's house with air conditioning and real beds.