Thursday, October 22, 2009

October Miracles - The Background

Awhile back I said that I would be relating a story of miracles that happened to us in October, 2003. It was 6 years ago tomorrow – Thursday, October 23.

But before I share that story, here's a bit of background to get started.

Our family had camped at Compton Ridge Campground, a family owned campground near Branson, for many years. Enough years so that we considered them family. When we would go there to camp it was really like going home. The Sims' family holds a special place in our hearts.

The Sims' family had a tradition of holding a big Halloween celebration each year either the weekend before Halloween or on Halloween weekend if October 31 fell on a Saturday. (The photos throughout this post are from various years.)

There were always lots of things to do for the kids – pumpkin carving contests and

lots of games for the kids. The games varied from year to year like a hoop shoot contest or a spider web weaving contest or a candy count guessing game.

One year they had a mummy wrap competition.

Other years they had hoop shooting contests, bicycle/tricycle/wagon parades, cake walks. There was always a lot of fun things to do.

Every year there was a costume contest with several different age groups.

I don't know the 'Smores kids but this is one of my favorite pictures. That's Daughter in the nun's costume with the adult contestants. She dressed up intending to embarrass her boys. Boy, did she get fooled - and it wasn't even April! Not only weren't the G1 and G2 embarrassed, she was one of the winners.

The last few years before the Sims sold the campground, a new competition was added to the weekend events - a cooking competition for the adults with a different category each year.

One year the category was pies. I won 3rd place for this pecan pie (it was made using Dear Abby's recipe

Cakes were a category another year. There were a lot of wonderful cakes entered that year. I made an Italian Cream Cake and won 2nd place.

The year the category was soups and stews I managed to nab 1st place for Pasta Fagioli. I'll have to share that recipe with you sometime.

One of the most fun - and competitive - competitions was for best decorated campsite. I have lots and lots of pictures of the campsites over the years in my files. Here are a few.

Each campsite got to vote for their favorite. The prize for the winner was usually a night or two of free camping for the following season. The winner was announced at the big “pig roast” pot luck dinner on Saturday evening. The owners provided the meat, tea, water and utensils and all the campers would bring 2 pot luck dishes to share. There was always lots and lots of good food!

After dinner there was trick-or-treating for the kiddos. Trick-or-treating like it was back when I was little. Most of the campers came year after year and everybody pretty much knew everyone else. So there were no worries about tainted candy or trick-or-treating at a house you weren't familiar with.

These 2 boys were the cutest little guys. And very polite, making sure to say "thank you" after we gave them their treats.

G1 and G2 used to dress up but that was before I had a digital camera. One year Daughter and I made them motorcycles out of cardboard boxes and they were bikers. G2 won for his age group that year. Another year G1 was a tube of toothpaste (we used a lampshade for the cap) and he won for his age group.

Witchy Weekend was so popular that to insure your spot you needed to make a reservation a year in advance.

Sadly, a few years ago the Sims made the decision to sell the campground. We camped there a couple of more times but it just wasn't the same. There's a definite difference between a family owned business and one that's owned corporately.

But we have a ton of memories to draw from of the many fun times spent there.

Tomorrow I'll post what happened in 2003. It's a story of many miracles for our family but there is a tragedy involved.


  1. What a wonderful place that was for you and your family...I just love how you describe everything so vividly and thoroughly...I really could get the *feel* of what it was like to be there...I am anxiously awaiting the rest of the story...

  2. What fun! Don't you just love that down home flavor that just doesn't come from Corporate America--no matter what they do? Love the pictures--so much fun for this Halloween. I can't wait to read "The Rest of the Story..." :D

  3. Looking forward to the rest of the story. I enjyed getting lost in your pictures.

  4. Such a nice story. You really capture the feeling and the memories. I wish had seen the tube of toothpaste costume! Can't wait for your recipes and the rest of the story.

  5. Wow! They made a big deal over Halloween.

    I know that you're just a little bit sad now that the campground has been sold.

    Maybe you'll find a new place to make some good Halloween memories for your family.

    Looking forward to more of the story.

    And to that pecan pie recipe.

    Sweet dreams.

  6. What fun! I wish there was a campground around here that did that.