MAKING MUD PIES ALONG THE MERAMEC
WHAT SUMMER WAS LIKE WHEN I WAS A KID
When I think about summer, I think about days spent along the banks of the Meramec River with my family, fishing, floating, and camping next to the water. As a kid, I had a blast covering myself in mud, rinsing it off in the river, then doing it all over again. That’s the best kind of fun when you’re a kid, right? Luckily, my parents were okay with it. In those days, we would camp out in my great uncle’s cow pasture in Doniphan, Missouri, right alongside the cow patties and next to the river. During the day, my sister and I made mud pies while my dad fished. At night, we had campfires and then went to sleep in our little red tent.
usually to celebrate the Fourth of July. It’s often one of the few times that Dave can get time off from work. My aunt and uncle drive down, and my sister and brother-in-law and their four kids join too. For a few days, we’re in the middle of nowhere together. In the evenings, we have a campfire. Sometimes we’ll rent a Redbox movie, but often, we’ll just talk or play board games or card games. There’s just a lot of food and hanging out. It’s a really good time. On the Fourth, we usually light some fireworks. Since my birthday is in the middle of June, followed by Father’s Day and my mom’s birthday at the end of July, we try to celebrate them all at once while we’re already together in Missouri. It’s nothing formal, but it’s fun to celebrate these milestones. None of us are big fans of birthday cake, so instead we have other tasty desserts. Some years we have homemade caramel brownies, other years it’s Mom’s sugar cookies (which she adds red and blue sprinkles to since it’s also the Fourth of July), and some years we have pie. Mom makes homemade pie crust and the fruit starts out as a whole piece of fruit — there’s no can of filling to be seen in her kitchen. I have some great memories from our trips over the years. Even if I’m not as excited about covering myself in mud anymore, I love being with my family, just hanging out, playing games, and catching up.
I remember one day when we got to the river, it had rained just before, and the banks were just pure mud. We already had
our swimsuits on, so Mom told us, “If you want to go play in the mud, go for it.” We loved having permission to get as dirty as we wanted to, and of course, the river was right there to wash it all off.
“We had cheap fun growing up, but
we didn’t think of it that way. My parents took us to state parks and fish hatcheries, and running around in these
natural areas, it felt like we had our own giant backyard to explore.”
We had cheap fun growing up, but we didn’t think of it that way. My parents took us to state parks and fish hatcheries, and running around in these natural areas, it felt like
we had our own giant backyard to explore.
What’s your favorite summer memory?
Over the years, my summer visits to Missouri haven’t changed all that much — except soon, it was my son Zachary covering himself in mud instead of me. We still try and all meet up in Sullivan, Missouri, once a year at my parents’ house,
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