Camp experience

“I love bananas and mangoes are sweet. I love papayas, but nothing can beat, the sweet love of God.” Seventy teens went into a do-bop swing as I parked in front of the cabin I was assigned to as counselor for a week of church camp. I unloaded bedding and clothes from car to cabin. A teenager’s electric fan blew air through the screens-only windows. We had a path to the bath house, bare wood floor and strategically placed nails along the exposed beams for hanging clothes. I shoved my suitcase under a bed, threw bedding on top and went to the service.
Song leader Jack stood at the keyboard, singing into the microphone. Rows of teens clapped and sang along. I scuffed sawdust as I entered the open tabernacle with the old wooden benches. My week as camp counselor had begun.
The week opened with a mist of rain that turned into a shower and a deluge with thunder and lightning.
“We will hold services in the dining hall if this keeps up,” the camp director promised. I wondered ‘why’ until wind drenched me with rain as I sat near the edge of the wall-less tabernacle.
The next couple of days the clouds left and the sun beat down on the buildings. Horseflies buzzed Foster Christie the speaker. His point on Christina accountability was made to the beat of his hand waving of flies. Without the cooling rains, the heat increased and so did the horse flies.
One evening, Foster held up a dead two-inch horsefly. “I think we should crucify this dude and leave him there for all his friends to see along with any others we get.”
The kids declared war on horseflies. As a quartet of teens sang, one reached up grabbed the horsefly buzzing him, squashed it, grinned triumphantly, added its carcass to the rest and never missed a word.
During the horsefly wars, Jack stopped the music periodically, “We bring you this late breaking UPI report: Bugs zero, people 11.” By Friday the count reached 60.
My favorite memory is the skit with a sleepy camper who dragged his bed and electric fan onto the stage. He laid down one rule: “Don’t touch the fan.” He aimed the fan at his bed and proceeded to sleep through everything done to wake him, except when anyone touched his fan. That roused him enough to roar. Rip Van Winkle finally woke up, long after the camp was over. He looked around, realized everyone was gone, shrugged and collapsed back into bed under his fan.
My daughter’s worst memory is the counselor’s skit in which I played the lead role. By the time I finished overacting she was slumped in her pew, head buried between her knees.
Saturday afternoon, we returned to a freshly cleaned house with air conditioning and double-paned windows. The house sparkled. The carpet was vacuumed and fresh blueberry pies lined the counter. It was all civilized after a week at church camp in the hills of Arkansas. I relaxed, turned on the fan and slept through everything the rest of the day.