Campfire Memories

Hot Dog Potato Chips Watercolor Illustration

When I think about “Camping,” our prompt for today, I only really have a couple of memories. I remember camping with my cousin in a tent on a fishing trip with my grandparents, and then there’s a flash forward to adulthood when I camped a couple of times with friends. I loved the first night, when the tents had all been prepared and everyone gathered around the campfire for drinks and whatever could be cooked on an open flame. Hot dogs were good for such an occasion, and a bag of chips is an easy side dish. For dessert, roasted marshmallows were usually next, which if someone had remembered to bring the graham crackers and chocolate could be transformed into s’mores. As I said, I adored this first evening of camaraderie and friendship and the crackling flame that lit everyone’s faces. Looking into the sky one could see an endless field of stars as the smell of burning sticks filled our noses. Time, for just a moment, actually stood still. Heading to a tent later in the evening was bittersweet as it meant saying goodbye to that magical atmosphere. It was also at that moment I realized I was covered in bug spray and would wake up without a proper shower. But, yeah, that first night was really wonderful.

The second day of camping is less about fantasy and more about reality. After attempting to rinse off in the makeshift shower on the campgrounds, even if I managed to approach cleanliness, I had to immediately apply more bug spray, so I was never actually clean. I think a 2-night camping stay was all I’ve ever managed to pull off before racing home to have a proper blissful bath. But, that didn’t stop me from doing it again, of course. I’ve at the very least learned that I can indeed last two nights before the need to bathe properly overwhelms me. Many of my friends were completely entranced with the experience and could last many more nights. I thought that was amazing, but it didn’t sway me. I’ve always been like that in life. I adore watching what others adore, but in the end, I make my own path. Even when I was in high school and peer pressure was at its height, I would never succumb to it. It wasn’t any strong sense of will or rebellion, it was more a complete sense of confusion. Why the devil would I ever want to do something, simply because others are doing it, if it doesn’t bring me joy?

Today, I simply celebrate the idea of joy and encourage everyone to chase it! I’ve honestly no idea if what I love is something that you might enjoy, but that doesn’t matter. What matters is that you stay true to what you adore and then we can simply agree in a smile. It’s equally why I’ve had great friends who were practically opposite from me in every way possible. And why I show up sharing my own silly stories each day in hopes a piece of them will ring true for whoever might be reading this. It’s like showing up to a campfire filled with people you’ve just met. Though there may not seem to be something in common at first, when we’re all lit by the same magical light, similarities begin to appear. That’s what I loved most about camping. Lacking all of my creature comforts, I was suddenly thrust into a rather primal and beautiful world. A place where simply people came together to enjoy the beauty of a moment. The food was nothing special, other than it brought back every wonderful moment of childhood. And together, we were the very definition of community. And, though I’ve not actually been camping in years, I’ll always cherish those campfire memories.

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Hot Dog Potato Chips Sketchbook Illustration
Recommended6 recommendationsPublished in By Charlie
23 Comments
  1. Sharon Nolfi 3 months ago

    I love the outdoors, especially in our great National Parks, but only with a comfortable lodge room to shower and sleep in. You’ve described the camping experience perfectly LOL.

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 3 months ago

      Thanks, Sharon! 😃💕I totally agree! I just need a proper shower, then I’m fine to go back and experience the natural world! lol

  2. Sharon Bonin-Pratt 3 months ago

    I loved hiking and camping with my sons, Boy Scouts being a big part of their lives. Though frankly I hated sleeping in a tent and always wondered how far down the road I’d have to hike to find a Motel 6. Food was a huge part of camp outs, hot dogs and chips always around, and S’mores – why wait for a camp out? We might just have some tonight! Boy Scouts 4 food groups: chips, chocolate, soda pop, hot dogs and hamburgers, because that last is just one food group. (I might be exaggerating a bit. Or kidding)

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 3 months ago

      haha! As a former scout for a hot minute, you’re not exaggerating at all! 😃💕 Hamburgers are definitely their own awesome food group! lol And yeah, though, I want that Motel 6… which is saying a lot… the food was amazing along with the fire and the stars, but camping lacks a few necessary creature comforts. 😉

  3. JA Wilson 3 months ago

    Just returned from camping , but ours was in a Retro trailer, closer to Glamping…

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 3 months ago

      hehe!! I love that kind of camping! 😃💕 My grandparents had a trailer, but my cousin and I had to sleep in a tent. I used to dream of the day when I would have a trailer of my own!

  4. Karen Fortier 3 months ago

    I must say that your hotdog looks a great deal more appealing than the ones cooked by my son-in-law yesterday for father’s day. It was rather on the black side and required a large helping of mustard to make it eatable. As in camping cookouts or often more about the company than the food.

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 3 months ago

      hehe… yeah, we often had a few black hot dogs at our family gatherings as well! 😃💕 So, the company was indeed the biggest treat!

  5. Sandra Strait 3 months ago

    Your hot dog and chips look tasty! I’ve never had too many interests in common with most of my friends and family, mostly doing a lot of things I really didn’t care to do because everyone else did. The internet was a godsend for me – I finally found my like-minded souls!

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 3 months ago

      Thanks so much, Sandra! 😃💕 Yeah, the Internet is rather amazing for helping us find each other! I was always the odd one out in my family, so it’s nice to have an extended art family!

  6. memadtwo 3 months ago

    Nothing like a hot dog burnt in a fire! and marshmallows too! (K)

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 3 months ago

      Yay to that, Kerfe! 😃💕 I’ve burned lots of marshmallows as well. Fun times!

  7. Lisa 3 months ago

    I loved camping when I was young. I think if I was going to do it at this age, I’d want a camper. And if my memory is right, I don’t think I ever had hotdogs on a camping trip. But I did have lobster once.

    Joe and I were camping in the South Dakota Badlands years ago, and on the second night, our tent blew down, twice! So we threw everything into the truck and took off for the nearest city with a hotel! But, here is where things get magical. There was a full moon that night and it lit up the Badlands to feel like an alien, but beautiful place that has always stuck in my memory.

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 3 months ago

      Yeah, I would totally want a camper! 😃💕 hehe… but also the proper shower part is required. And your evening in the Badlands sounds perfectly magical indeed!

  8. LoriCtoo 3 months ago

    Nothing like a hot dog cooked on a pointed stick widdled from a branch! Ahhhh, the memories. Yes these days, I rather sleep up off the ground. Lol Remove the mustard and that hot dog looks good enough to eat, even at 5:00a.m.!

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 3 months ago

      Thanks, Lori! 😃💕 hehe.. yeah… I think I prefer a lovely cabin most of all! And what, no mustard?? That’s the best part! I’m not even sure what’s in a hot dog! lol

      • LoriCtoo 3 months ago

        I’ve never wanted to know either! We discovered last year….bbq sauce and coleslaw. No calories there! 😉

  9. smzang 3 months ago

    Charlie said, “Hot dogs were good for such an occasion, and a bag of chips is an easy side dish. For dessert, roasted marshmallows were usually next, which if someone had remembered to bring the graham crackers and chocolate could be transformed into s’mores” (and Philippe curled up in dismay) : )

    I gotta admit, that meal you painted takes me back to some wonderful times.

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 3 months ago

      Yay! Happy to hear it, Sarah! 😃💕 For the record… Philippe does recoil at a description of ‘Smores! lol

  10. Mary Roff 3 months ago

    It’s amazing how many good memories are tied to hot dogs and potato chips. Nice post!!

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 3 months ago

      Thanks, Mary! 😃💕 Yeah, even if the food is suspect nutritionally, it certainly provided tons of good memories!

  11. Robert J. Coleman 3 months ago

    Wow, memories of Scout Camp, fantastic! We have a super camp nearby and I spent many weeks out in the woods. The most fun was NOT taking a bath, relying on the lake for a clean up. We were stinky boys when we got home but it sure was fun! Later on, I did a few winter “Freeze Outs” with my son and his Scout friends – now that was something else! Thanks for the reminders. bob.c

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 3 months ago

      Glad you enjoyed this one, Bob! 😃💕 Yeah… I could handle being a stinky boy much more than a stinky man. lol And “Freeze Outs”? I might actually like that, if it means all the bugs are dead. 😉

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