Father & Son Campout

 In the dense forest of South Texas, male voices announce the presence of a father-son campout. Besides having fun, they also send a strong message to neighboring campers. This is my campout experience, which was much more than smores and freebies. 

My campsite is nestled among tall, skinny pine trees. A crackling campfire threw warm light on my truck and some unfolded chairs. Rusty, my Jack Russell companion, sits and stares into the darkness as we both bask in the finale of our weekend camping trip. 

 Campfire next to the truck

The following morning, sunlight peeks through the dew-covered branches and leaves. It smells fresh and green with hints of breakfast preparations. As Rusty and I enjoy breakfast, a sudden humming noise from down the path breaks the morning serenity. Six off-road vehicles arrive and circle up at a nearby campsite as practiced during the Old West. Men and boys unmount their rides only to survey the now circled and protected wilderness. I whisper to Rusty, "OH BOYS."  It is agreed, "This is the spot!" the adventuring men proclaim.

Moments pass, and men and their Sons are busy with typical camping chores: setting up tents, building a field kitchen, creating a small fire pit, and unpacking supplies. Laughter and exciting chatter fill the forest. As Rusty and I view from a distance, we curl up in our chairs nearest the truck, out of sight. I'm not interested in tents or building firepits, but the sound of male laughter draws me in.

Suddenly, I hear a change in a man's voice. It softens, becoming more story-like. Curiosity piqued, I peek closer, careful not to interrupt. I see a single vested man holding a well-worn Bible, surrounded by men and their sons. Their faces react to the tone lit by this one man, rapt attention etched on them. He motions to recline around him. As he reads Bible stories, maybe about David and Goliath, the calming presence of Noah's Ark, or the lessons learned by the Prodigal Son, I realize that the base camp of about 25 men and boys is rooted in faith. 

Ok, this camping trip isn't just about the outdoors. I am witnessing a camping trip about male bonding, sharing faith, and creating memories beyond campfires and tenting hammocks. No, this scene offers a glimpse into a family's unique way of connecting. It shows that even amidst the fun of a camping trip, there's space for honoring God's Word, faith, and the special bond between a father and his son. 

Seeing such an event excites me, and I feel the urge to get out of my seat and join. But the only connection I have is empathy. I choose to stay hidden, enjoying this glimpse into their special moment. For I know that these moments are few and broad. 

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