Happy Father's Day, Daddy

     Once upon a time there was a family of four. The man and his wife had two daughters whom they loved immensely. They would do anything for them.
     One day the wife found out about a father/daughter camping program with the YMCA. Thinking it a perfect way for her husband to develop a relationship with their daughters in a world where father/daughter relationships are not always a strong thing, she suggested it to him. He liked the idea and thus began many adventures with his daughters.

     If you have not  guessed yet, that is a story of my family. Ever since I was 5 years old I have been going on weekend camping trips with my dad. On those camp-outs I have gotten many of my favorite memories. Whether is was seeing a fawn in the middle of a forest, learning how to set up a tent and propane gas stove, falling into a cactus (ouch), singing silly songs while riding horses, learning how to shoot a bow, a rifle and a sling-shot with my dad by my side, falling into rivers ("accidentally"), going on bike rides just about anywhere, eating freeze-dried beef stew (waaay better than is sounds), attending a piano concert in a cave (they lowered the grand piano down from a hole in the cave's ceiling), finding just the right tree to hang our rope swing on, tubing down a river, or going on hikes at night in the company of a full moon, I will never forget all those indescribable times. 
     The camping group we joined is set up sort of strangely. It's kind of like an Indian nation. We are this one big "nation" which is composed of smaller "tribes". These tribes have a chief and the nation has a chief, storyteller (wise man) and other roles that I cannot think of. You know what's cool? My dad was the nation chief, so that meant I was the chief's daughter- I was like Pocahontas! Ok, maybe I wasn't that cool, but I did have an Indian name: Sunflower. My dad was either Rock that Rolls or Warm Breeze depending on the day, or what he had eaten the day before... Each person had an Indian name and each tribe had a name. Ours was the Nez Perce Ground Squirrels and once I switched to the older group it was the Raccoons.
     At each camp-out the tribes would come together and have a council fire. The nation leaders (chief, storyteller, and such) would lead a type of meeting with a lighting of the council fire, a story, and skits done by each of the tribes. Those were always fun times. When my dad was nation chief part of the script he had for the council fire had him come out of the woods with his daughter saying that he had just been seeking wisdom. Well, even though we didn't have time right before the council fire we still made a point to go out and do so sometime that weekend (we couldn't very well lie could we?). 
     It was always fun to have those daddy times away from the other girls in my tribe. We would go on hikes talking about what my dad would teach about that Sunday morning at chapel, or we would talk about how to identify Sassafras (the only leaf my dad can identify- so he makes sure everyone knows it), or we would find rivers to cross or trees to climb. Those are more memories I'll never forget. For at those times he, as Deuteronomy 6:6-7 says, impressed God's commandments upon my heart as we sat eating, as we walked along the road, as we were going to sleep or as we were waking up.
     On these camping trips I got to know my dad better. My dad has always been such a great provider, but that does mean he has to work a lot. We are a home school family, so that means my mom has to be a stay-at-home mom and can not help provide. My dad is wonderful, he made up for that by having 4 jobs once. Even now that he is retired, he still has a part time job to help provide for us. I am so blessed to have the hard working, man of God father that I do, and I am doubly blessed to have been able to get to know him better in such fun and memorable ways. 
     If I had to choose my favorite memory from camping I would have to choose the times that my dad told me bed time stories. There were 3 types of stories he told. One kind was Christian stories he had heard while working at a summer camp. Another kind was Princess Brooke and Princess Devin stories where I, Princess Brooke, was the good princess and my sister, Princess Devin was the evil princess who always behaved wickedly and got into trouble (of course whenever my dad took my sister camping the roles were always reversed). The final type of story was Jimmy and Susie stories. In these stories Jimmy and his sister Susie would go by the post office and receive a package from some random relative asking for their help with some sort of adventurous problem. My dad never ran out of ideas for those, and I never got tired of hearing them. 
     These stories are such a great memory that I wrote a poem about them for my dad a year ago. Here it is:

By Brooke Budewig 

Come, come oh storyteller. 
Come tell us a story; 
Come weave us a tale.

Come lead us on to a land 
Full of truth in fables,
Come teach us of life.

When our work at day is done,
And we gather around,
Enlighten us all.

Out of your mouth springs forth words,
Words that captivate us 
And inspire us.

You teach our young ones 
The news of saving grace. 
So we now thank you.

If you were not here with us,
To tell us of these tales-
We would all be lost.

So we ask you to come,
Come tell us a story;
Come weave us a tale.

Come lead us on to a land  
Full of truth in fables,
Come teach us of life.