Friday, July 16, 2004

When I picked Sam up from camp today I found him sitting under a tree with a bunch of other kids, he had his Spiderman novel in his hands but he was looking up at one of the counselors who was telling a story and listening to her.  It reminded me of when I was a kid at Camp Marydale.
We usually went for two weeks of the summer to camp, the rest of the summer we had a babysitter, because both of my parents worked.  I remember a big barn where you made crafts, things with nails and wood, pressing bug shapes and letters into leather pieces to make a barrette or wristband.  We went canoeing on this funny round little man made lake.  We practiced archery, with cheap bows and arrows, and swam in the pool.  Our counselor had us properly terrified of peeing in the pool, she said that the chemicals in the pool would react with our pee and there would be a pink cloud all around your body if you did it. 
One afternoon I remember sitting under a tree, and we were making 'gimp' bracelets, weaving long different coloured plastic strings together in a way that was more complicated than braiding and then tying them around our wrists.  The counselors were talking about stuff.  I found them fascinating.  There was one counselor named Angel who had super long hair parted right down the middle.  It was a gorgeous light brown color and hung like a curtain on either side of her face as she tied off campers bracelets, pulling their wrists to her and using her teeth to get the knots tight. 
This was 1977.  And Elvis had just died.  And the counselors were talking about it.  I listened for as long as I could and then blurted out, "Who is Elvis?"
They stared at me.  Angel looked sad. 
One of the other counselors, an older girl who was loud and a little mean and whose bum was always hanging out of her shorts, snorted at me. 
"He's the King of Rock 'n Roll, you idiot."  She said.
Gladly, the horn for the bus went off so I didnt have to sit there for too much longer.  But I went right home and had my mom tell me all she could about Elvis.  And Angel was really nice to me the next day, and for the rest of camp.  So it was totally worth it. 
I hope Sam holds these memories, of warm lazy afternoons under a tree, waiting for his mom to come.  Of bright sun and friends shouting to him in the pool to jump in.  Of enjoying how good cold water can taste when you are really thirsty, and how a chilly damp morning can change into a beautiful day without you hardly noticing.


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