Friday, September 28, 2007

Sweet Tart Overdose and a Crayfish Too

The truck was packed. Blearily my eyes tried to focus as my father woke us up and told us to get in the truck, it was almost time to "hit the road." We were Sebago bound. Sebago Lake, Maine.

Every year my family would pack up the car and go to Sebago. We would head out on the five hour journey around 3 a.m. "We've got to get there early so we can pick the best campsite!", my Dad would declare. Each year I was allowed to invite one friend to spend ten days camping with us. This particular year I chose my friend Julie. I couldn't wait! It was freedom! Showers that operated by coin! Canadians in speedos! S'mores by the campfire and endless hours of roaming by the lake. Pre-teen heaven, well, minus the Canadian flag speedos.

Propped up on pillows, ensconced in our sleeping bags and surrounded by books and other on-the-road activities we giggled ourselves silly despite the early hour. Immediately we dug into the JUMBO bag of Sweet Tarts my mother had stowed in the back. First we ate them with wild abandon. We cackled through our shared sugar high, too hyped up to read. Then we got choosy deeming only the yellow, green and orange Sweet Tarts worthy of our ingestion. Pink and Purple were lame. Yet abundant. Sweet Tarts were scattered all over the back seat. At one point a Sweet Tart food fight broke out. By the time we reached the campground were sick to death of ALL Sweet Tarts as we gazed out at the Maine forests in a Sweet Tart haze. Blech. "DO NOT MENTION SWEET TARTS! EVER!" we declared. The mere sight of a wrapper made us queasy and it was only 8 a.m.

We waited five hours for our campsite number to be called. Five hours of sour stomachs, overtired tween-age girls complaining about the damp air, and desperately wanting a swim. I don't know how my parents stood it. The sky began to take on an ominous look to it. By the time we set up camp it had begun to rain. And rain. Then it rained some more. My Dad dug ditches around the tents and the covered picnic table. There would be no swimming on this trip. Only dampness and wet. A campfire was a no-go. No campfire=No s'mores. I got a little cranky. We spent a majority of our time at the covered table by lantern light drawing silly portraits with equally silly names while listening to Berlin on the radio over and over again until my mother snapped. It was the summer of 'Top Gun' after all.

The rain continued. Julie and I had to take down our tiny tent and move in with my parents. Our Tiger Beat pictures of Michael J. Fox had would no longer stay on the tent walls. It was tragic! The rain kept coming. The campground was like a giant sponge and the lake rose higher. Would our tent convert into an ark? One night as the ditch by the covered table overflowed I noticed something swimming by my feet. What's this? A Crayfish had made its way from the lake to our camp site. It was taking up residence with us now. I told him, "It's not any better in here!" The rain poured on. We didn't even need to use the coin operated showers. We could just step outside if we wanted to. We all felt a little bit stir crazy.

On the ninth day of rain, our last day of camping/living under water, the rain lightened. By day ten as we packed up the site the sun came out in all its glorious yellow brightness. Not a cloud in the sky. We begged my parents to let us stay another few days. Can't we just take a swim? We'll put the crayfish back now and find him a good home! No dice. The truck was packed revealing an avalanche of hidden Sweet Tarts and Sweet Tart wrappers. I looked at Julie and she looked as green as I felt. "DON'T MENTION SWEET TARTS! EVER!" we declared and climbed into the truck for the five hour ride home. This time we would be eating Reese's Cups!

Looking back now there really wasn't much we could do about the rain. My parents were smart enough to bring along tons of "fun" food, books, and drawing paper to keep two girls occupied. The radio/tv combo helped a lot too I might add. This trip didn't taint me from camping either. I will continue the camping tradition with my kids and will remember to pack the plastic, a shovel for digging ditches, and be prepared for any errant crayfish (perhaps with a pot?) that might cross our paths. As well as a bag of candy. Just not Sweet Tarts.

*Author's Note- In the Summer of 2000, I finally decided to take the plunge and eat a Sweet Tart. I ate every color but purple and pink. I still can't. The idea still makes me sick.

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  1. I love sweet tarts -- I could easily overdose!

  2. What a lovely nostalgic remembrance! I really enjoyed reading this post and felt like I was there with you.

    I do however, as a Canadian take great exception to painting all Canadians as wearing Speedos! Considering where you were camping my best guess those Canadians were Quebecers and well Quebecers are well known for poor taste in swim wear. :)


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