Growing up, my family and I, along with a couple of other families, did a lot of camping. We left Crossville every Friday (or earlier in the week if it was a holiday) and traveled over to Lily Dale on Dale Hollow Lake. We skied, swam, sunned, ate, laughed, talked, played games, went on boat rides, fished and viewed some incredible sunsets. We weathered, pardon the pun, a lot of strong storms, extreme heat, rain, and earlier in the summer, sometimes cool mornings.

I recall how everything tasted so much better at the lake. We had hamburgers, hot dogs, potato salad, desserts, watermelon, sandwiches and then big breakfasts in the morning. I look back now and wonder how my mom, Peggy and Nancy were able to shop for and prepare food for all of us and were able to still say they had a good time. All of the kids sat around the campfire or in the campers and told jokes and ghost stories or played games at night. Meanwhile, the parents played cards, talked and laughed. 

This went on for years until I started high school. Then for whatever reason, summertime Cumberland County High School Band practice caused us to not go as often. Nowadays, my idea of camping involves a hotel, air conditioning and a bathroom rather than a bath house.

However, a few of the shows I watch on television mystify me. The shows feature jobs I would never attempt to do myself, yet I am fascinated. They include: Wicked Tuna, Ice Truckers, Alaskan Bush, Naked and Afraid, and one of my personal favorites that is no longer on the air, is about spear fishermen who dive the gulf and the Atlantic in search of fish to sell to local markets. The jobs themselves are incredibly dangerous as they fight sudden ocean storms and saltwater predators in the case of the fisherman. The bush people and truckers encounter extremely harsh weather conditions.

There is another show that I can’t recall the name of, but it airs on the Discovery Channel. It is about a female who lives alone in the far northern tips of Alaska. She has to endure long, harsh and dark winters and encounter fierce storms and wildlife. I can’t in my wildest imagination, see myself doing what she or any of the previously mentioned people do, yet I love to watch these shows when I am given the opportunity.  I feel sure I am living vicariously through them while in the safe confines of my own home.

On the other hand, with the Fourth of July holiday just five days away, I am sure a lot of you are planning on setting up at your favorite camping spot. Please remember if you are traveling this busy holiday, to use caution on the roads, highways, waterways and to allow plenty of time to check in at the airport if you are flying the friendly skies.

If you are staying at home over the Fourth of July, there are at least two patriotic events you can participate in if you choose. The Cumberland County Community Chorus will feature a free summertime concert at the Crossville Amphitheater on Main Street. The free event begins at 6:30 p.m. on Wednesday night, July 3, and the City of Crossville has some big plans over at Centennial Park on 837 Industrial Blvd. The action starts at 5 p.m. with concessions and inflatables for the kids followed by live music at 6:30 p.m. with The Young Fables and the Last Band. Fireworks begin at 9 p.m. This annual extravaganza attracts thousands of spectators from here and surrounding counties to see the beautiful and colorful explosions in the night sky that celebrate the nation’s independence. 

Also on July 4 is the annual Fred Roehling Chicken Barbecue by the Lake Tansi Exchange Club. The cost is just $10 per meal and includes chicken, coleslaw, baked beans, bread and dessert. You can pre-order yours by calling 931-788-6721 or by visiting the Anna Belle O'Brien Pavilion before July 4. The Lake Tansi Exchange Club uses this money to fund children’s programs such as the Stephens Center and the TAD Center, among a host of others.

If you want to help Hospice of Cumberland County raise some money, you may want to stop by the Lake Tansi Thunderbird before you go watch fireworks at Centennial Park and purchase an ice cream cone. The Lake Tansi Hospice Auxiliary will be hosting an ice cream social from noon until 3 p.m. Fairfield Glade also has a host of events and activities planned for the holiday with pickleball from 9 a.m.-noon and fireworks at 9:15 p.m. in Robinhood Park. Regardless of what your plans are, be safe, have fun and enjoy the summer holiday!

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