“Grandpa, I think we’d better have pancakes for breakfast.” We were having a conversation about what to have for breakfast in our camper with a couple of grandchildren sleeping over in the camper. When we travel we have a range of meal options as the camper has a small pantry area and a refrigerator which give us ample space for food storage. We have a nice stove and oven, so can cook the same foods we have at home. When there are just the two of us, we might have eggs and toast or oatmeal or granola and yogurt for breakfast. However, when our grandchildren are with us they seem to always want pancakes.

I understand. Pancakes are a special treat. They get them at their home, but it is not the everyday fare. They are much more likely to have eggs and bacon for breakfast. The tradition of pancakes at the camper started when our grandson was only two years old and had his first sleep over at the camper. We had pancakes for breakfast because I like to make pancakes and because I thought it would be a special treat for the adventurous young camper. Somehow that became a tradition. He taught his sister that pancakes would be offered, so we had to have them when she started sleeping in the camper. Now there are two sisters and pancakes have become the standard fare for the camper.

I don’t mind. I like pancakes. I like to make them. And there are lots of fresh berries available around here, so we often have blueberry pancakes. Despite the fact that it is the 21st of July and the weather is warm, they are still harvesting plenty of strawberries from their garden, so strawberry pancakes are definitely an option as well.

As various waves of migration took people across the North American continent, they traveled with a few staple foods. Flour was fairly easy to transport in wagons, and was considered an essential traveling food. Fresh meats were nearly impossible to transport without refrigeration, so they were limited to game harvested along the way. Pancakes were easy to make with available ingredients. Many of the settlers carried sourdough starter with them as they traveled and used it for leavening for bread and pancakes. A sturdy cast iron skillet was considered to be essential kit for traveling, so they had all of the ingredients.

We used to have pancakes for breakfast when we were ten campers when our children were young. I’ve made pancakes when backpacking in the high country. I have an association between pancakes and camp cooking deep in my memories and traditions.

It is, however, interesting to listen to an eight-year-old instruct his two-year-old sister in the traditions of camping. He first stayed in our camper when he was a bit older than she is now, so it seems to him like something he’s been doing for a very long time. It doesn’t seem like such long time to me. I think of this particular camper as being new and though we’ve used it a lot, there is a lot more life in it. And this camper affords a high degree of luxury for us. We have a complete kit of kitchen dishes and pots and pans along with a comfortable bed and even a full bathroom with a shower. We aren’t exactly “roughing it” when we use this camper.

It is, however, mobile and we can take it with us to interesting places. This summer’s trip, however, is mostly a matter of being parked in our son’s yard. The grandchildren can walk to the camper and back home if they have forgotten a favorite toy or some article of clothing. Last night they all had their baths in their own home before coming to the camper to sleep. Some days they run back home to get dressed in the morning.

All the same it is an adventure for grandchildren and it has its own traditions. And the tradition of pancakes was reinforced earlier this summer when we took our two oldest grandchildren to grand camp at our church camp where they served pancakes for breakfast. From the perspective of our grandchildren, we always have pancakes when camping, whether sleeping in a cabin or in the camper.

So its’ pancakes for breakfast this morning. The youngest of the grandchildren decided to sleep in her own bed last night, so we invited her and her parents to the camper for breakfast.

There was a trip last summer, however, when we had a much fancier breakfast. I asked the two oldest children, who were seven and four at the time what we should have for breakfast and the seven year old chose pancakes, but the four year old thought macaroni and cheese would be the perfect breakfast. They both got their wish. I’m not what you’d call a gourmet chef, but I can make macaroni and cheese out of a box. Happy campers is one of grandpa’s specialties. But we haven’t gotten any requests for mac and cheese for breakfast this summer. It’s pancakes all the way.

For me, what we eat isn’t important. What is important is creating memories and enjoying one another. We have the relaxed pace of vacation while our son and daughter in law have to maintain a more robust pace with jobs to do, a home to keep up, a garden to tend and a lot of other chores. They have to have efficiencies about their daily lives that enable them to do a lot of different tasks. We have the luxury of having just a little bit more time for fun and for keeping up the traditions of camping with grandma and grandpa. We have lived long enough to know how quickly the years go by. Our grandchildren won’t be children for long. These are years to enjoy and savor because we know how precious they are.

So welcome to the camper. We’ll be having pancakes for breakfast.

Copyright (c) 2019 by Ted E. Huffman. I wrote this. If you would like to share it, please direct your friends to my web site. If you'd like permission to copy, please send me an email. Thanks!