Saturday, September 07, 2013
Mrs. Smucker Survives Another Year of Camp
Last year it was Bryant holding it proudly aloft.
This year it was a girl, Ashton, who hoisted it up in all its bending glory and started coming my way. Despite having just hiked for two and a half hours and feeling like my legs were going to pop off at the hip joints like Barbie's, I turned and fled like Usain Bolt.
Every year, I think: We are getting too old to take a van full of kids to three days of camp.
Every year, I do it anyway.
14 kids memorized the required 50 verses this year. Our young friends Justin and Esta came along to help out, and also Emily. We had the van and trailer full and groaning, plus two other vehicles.
Thankfully Esta grew up in Canada with lots of camping in the wild. We went to a campground at Clear Lake, up in the mountains. It was the most primitive camping we've done in years, with an outhouse and water pump a good ways down the mountain, and no electricity.
Last night one child suddenly started barfing as we sat around the campfire. Today a girl got swiped in the eye with a pine branch. And a boy got a yellow jacket sting. One kid wanted to go home. But everyone was alive and accounted for which is a lot to be thankful for.
Today we rowed on the lake and fished for an hour and a half. I was in a rowboat with three boys who are avid fishermen and thank goodness the view was beautiful because it was one of the most b.o.r.i.n.g. hours of my life. Fishermen like to sit in one spot on the lake. And they don't like to talk.
Far away across the glassy water I could hear the happy chatter in Emily and Esta's canoes full of girls. I listened enviously and then I decided to be like Jesus and take a nap in the boat, and then it was time to go, so I rowed back, just to prove I could, and we went back to the campsite for lunch.
After lunch we set off for a hike around the lake. By then it was hot outside, especially in the raw sun as we crossed the scratchy lava fields, and I thought we would never get around to the lodge where the van waited. It took two and a half hours, including a few breaks. And there as I walked back from the restrooms on my aching legs I saw the children waiting and resting, and then Ashton, with a happy cry of discovery, picked up a garter snake.
Thankfully she had the sense not to chase me and I made my escape.
Paul drove a few of us back to camp while the others completed the hike back to where we began.
Then I left because tomorrow morning I need to leave early to fly to Minnesota to be with my parents because Mom broke her other hip and is recovering from surgery.
The other campers come home tomorrow.
I was sorry to miss the last day because even when camp is utterly completely exhausting, it's still wonderful.
Quote of the Day:
Around the campfire:
Kid 1 roasts the fish head on a stick.
Kid 2: Ewwwww are you going to eat that?
Kid 1: Yeah. It's just like fish meat.
Kid 3: Even the brains??
Ashton: I don't wanna eat the brains! You can taste what the fish has been thinking!
Cameron: I was rolling around in my sleeping bag all night.
Kid 1: Whadja do that for?
Cameron: DUDE! I was on a HILL.
Kid 1: The guys are cookin' breakfast??
Kid 2: What's wrong with that? Some of the best chefs in the world are guys.
Abby: Well duh. They're CHEFS.
Kid 2: Ladies can be chefs too.
Abby: Nuh-uh. A lady is called a COOK.