She approached me as someone who knew who I was. Her face looked vaguely familiar, and once she introduced herself, I remembered. My husband had officiated her daughter and son-in-law’s wedding. I was there. I was there as the pastor’s wife, who during the rehearsal curled up in the secluded back pew with my Kindle, and who during the reception, experienced the honor of sitting at the parents’ table.
Beth and Charles met here at camp too. The two of the them were campers during our counselor years-which is how my husband ended up marrying them. My in-laws watched our kids and we enjoyed a rare night out. It was all coming back to me now. The mother of the bride had an unusual happiness about her. There were two things you couldn’t help but notice–her smile and her eyes. They go together you know.
All that to say is that she and I got to talking. This was camp’s first Octoberfest Homecoming weekend. She’d driven all the way from South Dakota to come and see her old friends. She had them too–those favorite campers we weren’t supposed to have. We laughed knowing there’s no sense in hiding it anymore. You could’t help it really, and you better believe I didn’t hold it against her now, not after all these changing years.
We talked at the beach while cheering on the adventure runners. This was her place. She was the lifeguard–we had that in common. Whenever she has a chance to make it back, the lake is the first place she goes. The beach is where the sun had shined, where the fun was had, where joy and faith was shaped and formed. And then there was the time when sun kissed the skin, the forty-five minutes between campers and swim times.
She told me the story about the newspaper. One summer day a newspaper appeared on the staff kitchen table. All the counselors stared at it, shocked and afraid of a world long forgotten, totally oblivious of what to do next. Where did it come from? How did it get there? How had black and white headlines invaded their paradise?
Camp has a way of pressing pause on the real world.
Then we go back. I’m choosing these days to mostly ignore them, but these are the headlines right now in the land. I’m gonna do what I did with each of the debates and what I’ve done with every presidential election since my 12-year old son was but a six week old newborn–so, in other words, something that doesn’t happen very often.
I’m gonna pop my popcorn and camp out in front of the television.