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Aaaaaaaaah!

I watched as the kid fell down the ridge. I tried to put the pieces together as to what had brought this kid’s downfall. Let’s see...Walking on gravel..crunch crunch..See a snake peeking out of a pile of rocks...neurotic kids jumps for it....neurotic kid misses...falls down ridge...Ahh...It’s all coming back to me now... Luckily, the kid was okay, and we continued our journey towards our destination, which would not be without laughs, jeers, a loopy camp counselor, a terrible smell, and other memoir worthy stuff. ( I’m talking about the destination not the journey. The journey, except the snake incident, was uneventful. I know that people say that the journey to get somewhere is more important then getting there, but I don’t think this is true. Real journeys suck.)

Every summer I go to a camp: A boy scout camp in the middle of nowhere. And every year stranger stuff happens. I tell you, it is true. I have been going for 8 years, so it is getting pretty strange.

This year, I was taking an Environmental Science merit badge class. One of the requirements was to find an environmental problem and solve it. Since they had solved the same problem for 3 years and it just got worse, they needed some new material. (You would think it would take less than 3 years.) On one of the hikes, we did find a problem: an orange oily leak from a hill. I thought it was shiiiiiny. We followed the leak up to the top of the hill and found lids. Big iron ones. Like you see at the gas station. We instantly got to work opening the lid, expecting to find a leaky gas tank. We did not pay attention to the fact that we were not at a gas station. We were behind a big building, where one usually puts the sewer. That’s why, when we finally opened the lid, after 10 minutes of prying with walking sticks and multi-tool screwdrivers, we were greeted by 20,000 gallons of well,...sewage.

The appalling smell immediately blew back everyone within a 20 foot radius…. Except Elijah. Yes, Elijah was still at the edge, with eyes wide open (and watering) and a goofy grin on his face, he said something I will never forget.

“Ooh look, corn!”

Almost immediately people started jeering at Elijah, as the counselor gingerly put the sewer lid back on,

“Are you stupid or something?”

“Ew, you’re gross!”

“Watch out, adhd kid on the loose!”

I could have stopped them. I could have jeered right with them. I didn’t do either. It is very hard to do anything when you are laughing your head off.(We never found out what that leak was, and I think none of us really wanted to know anymore.)


Anyway, that’s why I go to the camp. Most of the time it is raining like heck, and all you can do is sit in your cabin and you start to wonder why on earth you would try to live out of a duffel for two weeks. It’s for the ambience, you tell yourself. For the impromptu powdered sugar fight. For the canoe war we won by default. For frog cpr (more on this in the next story.) and fishing for hours and not catching anything but grass. The time when you caught a fish the size of a dollar bill and cleaned and fried it anyway. Not for the food (worse than school food), location (only found by satellite), amenities (don’t ask), or the merit badges. It’s for the fun that is always on time and slightly crazy. The kind of fun your parents take one look at and go home to lie down and wonder where did they go wrong, but you grin inside and cherish every minute of it. This ambience of the camp that has survived 80+ years and will never die, at least if I have any thing to say about it. I just hope I can survive next year. As a counselor.
Aaaaaaaaaaah!





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