*This is a reader contribution from the wonderful Malissa Stidham.
It was the first cool Saturday in October. Donnie and I were invited out to my son’s camp grounds for a family cook out. Arriving on site, we were greeted with lots of hugs from the three grand children. Always a welcome joy.
After our greeting, I noticed the oldest grand daughter, age 13, had a friend to hang with, as teenagers do. The youngest grand daughter, age 7, made many friends there to play with. That left my grandson, Cody, age 11.
He hung around the camp site with the family but it was plain to see boredom was setting in.
Noticing he was lurking in the background, I started looking around for things to do with him. In another campsite, I found a tree had littered the ground with a bunch of hedge apples. Oh what fun! Going over and picking one up, I was tossing it up in the air and catching it when I yelled to him, “Hey Cody, want to play some nature soccer?”
Seeing the hedge apple in my hand, one of the kids yelled, “Monkey brains”. Apparently that is what the kids called the hedge apples since they look like small brains.
It took Cody all of five seconds to run and kick the monkey brain and then the game of soccer was on. We spent an hour kicking that thing around until it got all soft and squishy. Cody then ran over and grabbed two more monkey brains off the ground and asked me if I wanted to race them down the hill at the bottom of the camping road. So off we went racing toward the hill with money brains in hand.
The only rule of the race was feet only, no using hands. Cody won on the race down the hill, but I won the race up hill, guess I can still kick a little harder!
We kicked the monkey brains back to our camp site where we found that they were making S’mores on the open fire. Cody got the idea of roasting a monkey brain. Getting his mom to agree to let us was no issue, but to get my son to agree . . . difficult. So Cody put me up to the dirty deed. Expecting to hear “NO.” We both were shocked to hear him say yes.
So we grabbed one of the long handled roasting spheres, loaded the money brain, and set to roasting. We laughed as we heard the thing crackle and hiss as the juice inside of it was drying up. After about an hour of roasting the monkey brain we laid it on the patio and then took a stick to see what it looked like inside. Squishy! Nasty! Stinky! Oh boy what a mistake. We both laughed so hard at the mess.
When it was time for us to say our good byes to the kids, Cody came up gave me a big fat hug and said “You are the best, Mamaw.”
Being out there playing around like that with my grandson created wonderful memories to add to my treasure chest. However, are those memories worth the long stares I got from other adults there? You bet ya, and next time, I’ll be happy to gather even more!!!
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For another happy story I recommend: