March 30 years ago; not an exact memory maybe a few years blended together, but a memory or two none the less.
March seemed to promise spring and deliver sunshine that could warm your bones. Morning skis were quick, but you had to watch for crud in the tracks that was waiting for your wax to come along. Staying cool was often the problem, and sunglasses left you with raccoon tan lines.
Time to set up tents and patch them up. Some folks like the smell that old canvas camping gear has; for me it bring backs memories of repairing gear, and the dirt and debris that was exfoliated off the equipment as you worked with it. Canvas tents were still used by the camp we worked at.
The Canvas Banard tents made in Minneapolis were the choice of many at the time, and still bring back many great memories for me. A light cotton canvas roof and walls with a heavier weight canvas floor. No poles were required to set it up. Just one rope pulled the main peak up to seven or eight feet tall, then three other corners at two feet or so. Trees were the best choice for the peak and sticks or a paddle helped with the lower parts of the tent. The door zipped up the to the peak and you could tie back the canvas, exposing mosquito screen that draped onto the floor. It all rolled up tightly to about a foot diameter and 15" long and weighed in around eleven pounds with room for four adults. Standing room for one made getting dressed a bit easier than all of the little tiny tents of today.
The horsecollar kaypok life jackets were being phased out around that time, as they failed. A small leak in the plastic would result in the kapok soaking up water. Life jackets were seldom worn then, usually by only those with an extreme fear of the water. Most spent their lives in the bilge water. Cotton covers were the norm, and they rotted out where they were layers thick or the canvas webbing held moisture for long periods of time. When the nylon versions came out with the multiple thin layers of foam, life expectancy of the product did not seem to change. D rings and snap hooks were the accepted closures of the day.
30 years seems like a long time ago, yet far too short for a life. Last summer my wife Karen did the 60 mile 3 day walk. Today 3/2/2010 cancer claimed the life of my sister. Today she rests in peace.