06 June 2016

Old Made New: Camping Lantern

A few items from my parents' house are residing in our garage, including our camping lantern from the 1970's. I remember being shocked to find this old lantern in my dad's shed as I cleared out items for the estate sale. Seeing it brought back so many poignant memories of the camping trips we took while I was growing up. It was one of the first things I brought home.
My parents and I, along with our dog Tammy, spent a lot of time camping and fishing during those years. In fact, most any place we traveled, we took the pick-up camper and I rode along in the top over the truck cab, sprawled out on the bed with a stack of books, occasionally looking out the window as we drove. 

I have many, many fond memories of those times. I often made charts of our fishing progress, keeping track of who caught the most. After a successful day by the lake, my dad would clean the fish and put them in a yellow plastic dish pan which I would carry to the campsite. Mom would fry them up and we'd have dinner around the picnic table, the lantern dutifully lighting the space outside the camper.

After all this time gathering dust in my dad's shed, I wasn't even sure the lantern still worked. And as crazy as it might sound, I hadn't felt able to test it until recently. When you lose someone you love, certain objects you associate with them take on a special significance. For me, it has taken a lot of time to be able to hold these objects and feel more good than pain.

So last week I finally took the lantern to the battery store. Four big batteries later, it lit up like new.

Will I ever take it camping? Maybe, maybe not. But for now it's nice to just flip the switch and remember the times I spent around the picnic table with my mom and dad and Tammy in this lantern's warm glow.

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