When I think back over my childhood, I have very fond memories of Easter weekend. We would pack up Thursday night so we could leave as soon as dad got home from work on Friday. It was a mad dash to the Anacortes Ferry dock, to wait in line for the ferry to Friday Harbor. It was always packed. Easter weekend and all. We would get to Friday Harbor (San Juan Island) and drive across the island, down an old dirt road to The Bowery. Finally, showing up around Midnight. Lugging our gear down to “our” spot, we would quietly put up our tent, cover the ground with our tarp, blow up our air mattresses and hop in our down sleeping bags for a restless night of sleep.
Up early to a day full of children’s adventures. Breakfast cooked over an open fire pit – usually eggs, bacon and hot chocolate. All tasted so much better when cooked over Cedar. Once breakfast was done, I was off to find my friends. We would spend the day playing frisbee, checking out the tide pools, tag, rope swing, hide and seek, racing, exploring all the properties. It was non-stop all day.
After dinner, the fire would be stoked up and everyone would join and sit around the flames, stay warm, toast marshmallows and make smores. Dad would grab his harmonica and we would sing “What would you do with a drunken sailor”, “Row Row Row your boat”… Then, off to bed for the big day Sunday. Not restless this time. I would be asleep before my head hit the air mattress. Exhausted from the day of adventures and looking forward to the Sunday morning egg hunt.
We would be up early, all the kids brimming with excitement and energy. The eggs could be anywhere from the big tree on the S’s property next door, to the old rock crusher on M’s property. Off we would go, running and searching for the eggs. There was always a “special egg” hidden somewhere. It could be a coconut or a huge chocolate egg. I found both on different trips. The sweet smell of ham being cooked in a dutch oven over the fire was fantastic.
After all the eggs were found, we would have a huge communal breakfast over on the M’s property. Everything cooked over the fire – ham, eggs, cinnamon rolls, hash browns… sweet, smoky and yummy. We would play break the egg. I would take my egg and crack it over your egg. If mine broke, I would flip it over and try again. It would go on for hours, till all the eggs were broken and we had one champion unbroken egg.
By noon, we would start packing and try to catch a ferry going home. We would usually spend hours waiting in line to catch the ferry back to Anacortes. Ice cream cones being sold by cart in the line. Lot’s of walking around town, reading books. Getting homework done for Monday school. Naps. It was a long ride home to a cold home and unpacking our wet smoky gear. We would get home just in time to watch 60 minutes and the Sunday Walt Disney movie. Dinner, a shower and off to bed.
The memories of these adventures are etched in my mind and it feels like they happened yesterday. The vividness of the comradery, the laughter, the smell of the fire, the food, the salty air… all right there for me to open like a good book. It does not escape me today as to how fortunate I was to have been able to experience.