Favorite Family

Combining a trip with the Airstream to visit our Favorite Family was like pairing my favorite cake with the perfect icing.  We had the honor of being the first visitors to their new home, while bringing our own little home with us.  It seemed meant to be when we were told there was a 30 amp outlet available just inside their garage, with enough driveway space for parking our RollingSilver2ndHome.  How accommodating!

If you know that experience of being welcomed with wide open arms, and the excitement of fulfillment after long anticipation, then you understand completely.  This trip had been planned for six months, so to finally arrive was the toasted nut on top of the cake.  The newest member of our family is three years old, and instantly provided me with a favorite moment when I saw him for the first time.  His mom and I went to pick him up at preschool and when we walked in, his eyes lit up.  He gave a little scream and could not contain his joy, which he expressed by running around the room in circles, like a blade on a fan whipping up the air.  There were other “moments” of blowing and catching kisses, and latching onto a gift I brought him, a camping lantern.  We had plans to go camping towards the end of our visit, and every little boy needs his own lantern, doesn’t he?  As he began providing us with “lantern stories” right away, it was a hit all around.

His big brother is seven years old, and also shared some unforgettable moments.  In anticipation of our visit, he had helped make his great-great-grandmother’s cinnamon rolls.  There are only a few of us who make these, so it is heartwarming to see him embrace this time-honored family tradition.  He received a personalized cookbook with a foam puzzle, indicating kitchen measurements.  When he read, “Two cups make a peent”, I realized pints turning into “peents” was now a new form of family measure.

There was a simple fascination with the Airstream, and I heard quite often during the visit, “I want to go out to the camper.”  When I finally figured out that “going out to the camper” meant peeing into the toilet, I realized for the little boys it was like marking their territory.  Why Not?  After all, we were all at home!

Their mom brought the best parts of “family” back to me, which had much to do with the food she planned and prepared.  Isn’t it so true that when the food is good, it feels like a holiday?  It was a feast for days!  Imagine dad’s barbecue brisket, mom’s cheesy potato casserole, grandmother’s Brookville Hotel coleslaw and cinnamon rolls, her mother’s lemon chicken, her shrimp and grits, slow cooked pork, marinade steak and home-made pizza.  Are you hungry?  Her husband shared his home-brew with us which was so good I only regret there wasn’t more to go around.  My dad (her grandfather) was there when we made a trek to his favorite shopping destination, BIG LOTS.  She was a Big Lots Virgin.  Even though he passed 10 years ago, I’m absolutely certain he was shopping with his girls that day.

We ended our visit by going camping, to a place none of us had been before, Red Run Campground.  In the heart of Lancaster County, PA, it was a perfect place to wind down our visit.  It was family friendly, and we had a great experience there, from the playground and layout of the campground to the people we met.  Who wouldn’t enjoy camping by a creek, cooking over a campfire and hearing the clip-clop of horses hooves and Amish buggies going by?  We met Robert and his family there, along with their brand new grand-daughter.  They were the nicest group and it was a pleasure to make their acquaintance.  When we first pulled into the campground with our Airstream, it was their reaction to us that made us aware this is another part of the world where Airstream sightings are also rare.  The feeling of being instantly popular is not one I’m entirely used to.  (I liked it.) It’s nice to meet Airstream admirers!   We also met Bill and Leah, who had spent time in all the parts of the country we have lived, and Chuckie & Jessie’s folks, all lovely people. It was the last camping trip with our family’s pop-up trailer, as the decision to upgrade to something easier was imminent.  We like their new SOB (Some Other Brand), and look forward to sharing more camping memories.  I believe Red Run Campground has a place in our future.

Memorable conversations were shared and a couple of campfires I won’t forget.  In fact, there was an incident involving late-night scotch, a smart phone and a campfire.  All I will say is, instead of changing the names to protect the innocent, I won’t give you any names at all.  It was however, an exercise in how worthless extended warranties are, even if you suspect something like this could likely happen in your future.   So don’t buy them.  EVER.  ‘Nuff Said.

Campfire for cooking food (and electronics) over.

Red Run Campground

877 Martin Church Road

New Holland, PA  17557

717-445-4526

If you’re a beef eater like my dad was, you want this recipe.  It’s one of those make-ahead, easy recipes that tastes like it has been in a smoker, but is slow-cooked in the oven.  In fact, I’m making it this week.

DAD’S BARBECUE BRISKET

3-4 pound brisket

2-3 T. liquid smoke (Wrights)

1 t. garlic powder

1 t. powdered onion

2 t. celery seed

1-1/2 t. salt

2 t. Worcestershire sauce

2 t. pepper, freshly ground

1 cup barbecue sauce

Cover both sides of the brisket with liquid smoke, garlic and onion powder, celery seed and Worcestershire sauce.  Place brisket in a baking pan, cover, and marinate meat in refrigerator overnight.  Add salt and pepper, covering the brisket with foil.  Bake in a 300 degree oven for five hours.  Pour off liquid and reserve.  Cool meat before slicing, against the grain.  Arrange the sliced meat in a baking pan (adding a portion of the liquid is optional.)  Brush the barbecue sauce over the sliced meat, and heat before serving.