A Trip To The Lake Is A Country Music Song Waiting To Happen…Even When Your Kid Barfs And Things Go To Pieces

Alan Jackson country music

With a grunt I heaved the last box of supplies onto our campsite’s picnic table.

Tent was up. Fire was lit. Kids were caked in dirt and scrambling through the brush. Whiskey Riff Lake Life playlist was blasting. And I cracked my first campsite beer of the weekend.

There’s no better beer than the tent-is-up-fire-is-lit first beer of the camping trip. I guzzled a Coors Light with Alan Jackson’s “Good Time” on the speakers and the smell of fresh pine and grilled meat in the air.

Unfortunately, that moment was the peak of my weekend at the lake, thanks to a little thing called “camping with young kids.”

It started out so well, with an efficient camp setup, a playlist that made the neighboring site jealous, and the cold euphoria of the best beer I’d ever tasted. I felt the glow from the flames and watched the sun set behind a redwood tree while I planned my perfect day….

Tomorrow, I thought, I’d cook some eggs on a cast iron skillet while the boys played with sticks in the dust. I’d pack us a lunch, load the cooler with brews, and head to the lake. I’d show my boys how to bait a hook, and chuckle when they failed. Then I’d become a hero when I caught fish after fish, just for them. It would be magical.

Then my kid barfed on my sleeping bag.

I spent all night waking up in terror thinking the kid coughing in my face was about to give me the Exorcist treatment. The next morning, the boys were trying to impale each other with the sticks, so my wife packed lunch while I broke my back carrying a screaming toddler around in circles.

When we finally arrived at the lake, high winds blew sand into my eyes and cancelled any plans of casting a line. Not that it mattered, because my whining brood insisted on heading straight to the lakeside playground anyway. My kid kept barfing every twenty minutes.

Dejected, I walked to the end of the empty dock (it was closed of course) and I saw a sign that read “This Place is a Country Music Song Waiting to Happen.” “Funny,” I thought as I wiped a few barf remnants off my shoes. I was expecting more “Good Time” than “Welcome to Hard Times.”

Soon thereafter, we were headed home. Less than 24 hours after I sipped that beautiful first beer, I was re-packing the car and sporting a healthy fever I’d inherited from my son, hoping that my new cough didn’t turn into barfing on the steering wheel on our way out of the mountains.

You learn quickly as a parent that these trips are for your kids, not for you. You pack that car and make ambitious plans like you used to. Then you cancel those plans and end up at the playground by the lake with vomit on your shoes.

But even the simplest memories you create with your family in the outdoors are worth it in the end… as long as you savor that first campsite beer before the trip descends into misery.

Simple times, cold beer, misery, and barf.

Sounds like a country song to me.

A beer bottle on a dock



A beer bottle on a dock