After my triumph on the zip-line, we made a mad dash to the snack cart and then on to the dorm to change and get ready for activity centers. Once everybody was cleaned up, or at least camp clean, the girls grabbed their white t-shirts and headed toward the tie die tent. Judi and I watched from a safe distance as they enthusiastically squirted dye onto the carefully banded fabric. A few errant drops invariably splashed onto the teen helpers, but they didn’t seem to mind.
When the rubber bands were removed and the shirts were admired and hung on the fence to dry, there was still time for another project before Chapel. The closest one involved paint and hands and feet. Each camper was seated and given a canvas with the Bible story about Jesus washing the feet of the disciple mounted in the center. The counselor was to kneel in front of each girl and apply paint to her hands and feet. After making prints on the canvas, the counselor would explain the idea of serving one another while she wiped away the paint. Simple, right? Not so much.
Jane, my fastidious camper, would have no part in removing her shoes in front of everyone, and she got one of the teen helpers to assist her while I was dealing with Sue. As usual, it took Sue forever to select her color scheme, and then she announced that she didn’t like anyone touching her feet. Finally she decided she’d do one foot twice as long as she could apply and remove the paint herself. The actual foot washing didn’t work very well either, because instead of basins of water, we had wet wipes which tended to smear rather than clean. By the time we finished, the story got lost in the shuffle and, although it was a bonding experience of sorts, it wasn’t the spiritual lesson that was intended.
We left the canvases to dry and went to Chapel where Jane had a spiritual experience of her own. She was always enthusiastic during praise and worship, and tonight was no exception. Then during a quiet song while we were seated on the floor, I realized that she was sobbing. I put my arm around her, and she continued to weep silently.
“It’s that song,” she said.
“I know,” I said, wiping a few tears of my own. “It got to me, too.”
Later, on the way to dinner, she explained further.
“During that song, I just felt like Jesus caught me.”
That’s what it’s all about.
After dinner we returned to the dorm to get back into our swimsuits for the evenings’ activities. The counselors grimaced and complained about the cold, damp suits, but the girls didn’t mind a bit. They were too focused on the fun that was ahead. Everybody gathered off the main parking lot where the staff had set up serving lines for root beer floats. Yummy!
Then the girls went around back to the big hill where a slip ‘n slide had been set up, and the boys went to the pool. Now this wasn’t your ordinary slip ‘n slide. It was a custom-made version made with exercise mats and plastic sheeting. It was about 8 feet wide and extended about 100 feet down the hill, and it was slathered with bottles and bottles of baby shampoo. Teen helpers lined the sides and bottom of the slide to help anyone who got stuck halfway and to stop anyone who had a good head of steam from sliding into the lake.
I decided to sit this one out. Lisa had broken her toe on an approach run to the slide in June, and I figured I’d had enough danger on the zip-line for one day. For 45 minutes the campers flopped and slid and screamed and laughed, and those of us who cheered them on whooped and laughed almost as much as they did. When our time was up, we switched with the boys and continued our water fun in the pool.
When the lifeguard whistled us all out of the water, it was getting close to lights out, but we had to stop at the nurse’s stations first. Jane and Sue both took evening meds and so did I. We stood in line and then started the walk back to the dorm, chatting about what an exciting day we’d had.
Danger doesn’t always come in the form of a 20-foot tower or a 100-foot expanse of soapy plastic. Sometimes it comes in the form of a 3-inch curb hidden in the dark shadow of a parked car. I’m not sure exactly what happened, but my foot slipped and in that split second when you’re suspended in space, my mind screamed No, No, No!!! My knee hit the pavement, and I felt something pop in my ankle.
“Are you okay?” someone said.
“I think so,” I said as I tried to stand up. Then I put weight on my foot, pain shot up my leg, and I sank back to the ground. “Maybe not.”
A strong arm went around my waist and lifted me to my feet.
“Lean on me. I got ya.”
“I just saw you,” said the nurse as I hobbled back into her room.
My ankle was already beginning to swell, but I could move it, so she didn’t think it was broken. She gave me a couple of Aleve and an ice pack and ordered me back to the dorm.
“Elevate it and ice it.”
Then she called for someone to bring a golf cart to give me a ride. When I hobbled into Room #1, I was greeted with hugs and expressions of concern.
“I cried and we prayed for you – twice,” said Sue.
Ignoring the day’s accumulation of pond water, pool chlorine, and camp sweat, I put on my oversized Garfield sleep shirt and climbed into my bunk with my ice pack. Jane and Sue came to me for bedtime prayers instead of the other way around, and after lights out, I continued to pray that I’d be able to walk tomorrow. I couldn’t spend the day with my foot up, missing all the fun. After all, tomorrow was everybody’s birthday.
P.S. I wish I had more pictures to share, but security and privacy issues forbid it.
For more information, go to the Royal Family Kids website.