As Adalia Jennings drove along the familiar roadway, memories were flooding back into her mind. With the window open, she could smell the same scents as she’d experienced before. It had been nearly twenty years since the last time she’d visited her favorite place. Even though it had been a long time, it still looked nearly the same as it had looked then.
Adalia was ten years old the first time her parents brought her to the campground she was heading to. Quickly, it had become like a second home to her. She’d made more friends there than in the school she had attended. She felt the same way she’d felt, each time she’d come this way. Excitement bubbled up from inside, as she drew closer to her destination, the excitement continued to build.
She’d received a message on her social media page from someone she’d known back then. Barbie Norton. She couldn’t believe her eyes, when she saw the friend request. Barbie’s family had come to the campground once a summer, staying for two weeks. All her other friends knew Barbie and her family.
Adalia giggled at the memory. Barbie’s brother, Darren, was cute. Adalia liked him, even though he barely noticed her. Even then, they had some fun times together. Now, Adalia was going to a reunion with the others she’d met so very long ago at the campground called Sherwood’s Campground.
When she began driving down the mile-long drive toward the campground, her heart began to flutter faster. She was excited by the possibilities of who she might encounter over the next week. She secretly hoped that Carl, the boy she’d fallen in love with, would be there. She wondered what he might be like now, compared to then.
She approached the dirt road that led to the campground’s office. Her excitement grew even more. She felt as if she could burst inside. As it came into view, the recreation hall where the office was located, still looked the same. A building with large open windows, and wide doorway.
When she approached the counter, she was greeted with the owners. She recognized them immediately. No longer were the elderly couple, Cheryl and Robert tending the mini store. It was Blake and his wife, Annie who were standing there. Blake is the son of Cheryl and Robert.
“Good afternoon,” Blake said in a professional tone. “Can I help you?” It was obvious to Adalia that Blake didn’t recognize her at all. She smiled, and giggled. Blake looked at her strangely.
“You don’t recognize me, do you Blake?” Adalia questioned, smiling.
“Uh, no. But you do look sort of familiar. You are........?” his voice trailed off.
Adalia giggled again. “I’m Adalia Jennings, but you would have known me as Adalia Bennington.”
Blake’s face softened and his smile grew bigger. “Adalia! Oh, yes, I do remember you quite well. You look stunning, I hardly recognized you, I admit,” he said apologetically. “You’re here for the reunion?” he asked.
“Of course. I couldn’t miss something this great,” Adalia said, her tone brightening. “I’m beyond excited to find out who’s all going to be here this weekend. What site am I at?”
Blake looked at her and said lightly, “You know when you come here you can choose any site that you want. I bet I can tell you, already, where you’re going to choose......” his voice trailed off again, his smile widening. He looked down at the campground map he had placed in front of him. Then he pointed to a campsite.
Adalia looked at where he was point to and giggled again. “You got me. That’s exactly the place I was going to choose. But, of course, you already knew that because I always choose that site. I’m so glad it’s free every time I come.”
“It’s free, just for you,” Blake said. “Interestingly enough, no one wants to stay in that site most of the time, during the season. Even when we do put someone there, they always find some fault in it, and request another site.”
“Really? That’s funny. Maybe my Dad’s spirit doesn’t allow anyone on that site as it’s so sacred,” Adalia added lightly. “I believe in that stuff, you know,” she laughed.
“You might be on to something there, Addie. So, for the week stay, it’ll be three hundred and fifty dollars. Normally, that would be a six-hundred-dollar week, but since it’s a reunion, Annie and I decided we were going to give all the oldies that come this weekend a half-off deal,” Blake explained, returning back to a professional tone.
“Sure thing, sounds awesome, Blake! That’s great of you and Annie, it’s highly appreciated, believe me,” Adalia said as she pulled her checkbook out of her purse. When she’d finished registering, she hopped back into her purple and black mini SUV, heading toward the campsite where her parents had parked the camper every summer for six years.
She backed the SUV into the site, making sure the tent trailer had moved into the space straight. When it was where she wanted it, she got out and began opening it. When she was through setting up the site, she sat down at the picnic table and observed her surroundings.
Not much had changed at Adalia’s old stomping grounds. So many memories began to flood her mind. She’d spent so many summer weekends there, cumulating so many memories. Most good memories, mixed with ones of heartache. This was where she’d met her first boyfriend, experienced her first kiss, and later realized she’d met her soulmate.
She sat at the picnic table, sipping a tall glass of strawberry-infused water, watching everything going on around her. She was lost in thought and didn’t see the man walking toward her. He got near to her and cleared his throat.
Coming out of her daydreaming, she focused on the man who’d seemed to appear out of nowhere. She shook her head slightly as her mind cleared, “Oh I’m sorry, I was just thinking.” She felt the flush of heat rush to her cheeks. She knew it had to be obvious that she was embarrassed.
The man extended his hand toward Adalia. She took it, and he said, “You don’t recognize me, do you, Adalia?” Adalia looked into the somewhat familiar eyes. A big smile formed on her lips, as the realization started to come to her mind.
Her heart began beating much quicker. “Yes, I do recognize you, Craig,” she replied almost breathlessly. She couldn’t believe her eyes. Is it really him? She thought to herself. In her mind, images of years gone by passed through.
Craig released her hand, then wrapped his arms around her in a hug. “It sure is me......here......you here.....it’s been a long time,” he said in her ear. Adalia and Greg sat on the beach along the small pond, where they’d swam with the other kids, many times. Their conversation was mixed with current things, and remembering memories of those years so long ago.
Adalia had had a big crush on Craig then. Though Craig had ignored her quite a big back then, it never had mattered to the young Adalia. Her crush on him was deep. There had come a time, however, that Craig had noticed her. They’d almost gone too far, unfortunately and too quick. Not to mention the most embarrassing situation when they were caught, red-handed in a very compromising way.
The entire weekend was filled with a lot of laughter, memories, tears, and joy for Adalia. Most of her friends that she met there at the campground showed up for the weekend. Adalia had smiled so much that her lips felt stuck in that position, and the muscles in her cheeks ached a little. She laughed so hard, that her stomach muscles were a bit sore. She shed so many tears that her eyes felt overly dry.
None of that mattered, though, to Adalia. It had been the very thing she’d needed the most in her life. When Sunday afternoon rolled around, and it was time to pack up, Adalia had a heavy heart. She found herself not wanting to pack up and leave, just as she’d felt when she was young. Back then, she’d wished that she could have just lived there all summer long.
It was a sullen time, as she put her camping gear in the trunk of her car. She hooked the tent trailer to her car. She just couldn’t leave yet. No one had gone, either. She went to where the other’s sites. Everyone was slowly putting their gear away, also. When everyone was finished, they gathered together in a small group, hugging each other.
She probably wasn’t going to see any of them until the next spring, except for Craig. They planned to get together on a date. A date, she said to herself, with Craig. How did that happen? She smiled, she looked forward to it. A new chapter in her life had begun.