Susan Spess Shay

Still playing make believe.


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Today I’m talking about my least favorite vacations. Church camp.

Our church went to camp at Alba, Missouri (near Carthage) at CYOKAMO. Christian Youth of Kansas, Missouri and Oklahoma. (I think.) The first year in our new camp, the buildings were so new, the 2x4s were still oozing that sap stuff that comes out.

Now I LOVED going to camp. Loved the time away from the world, being with camp friends I only saw once a year. And I loved that time alone with God, to learn more about Him and spend extra time I didn’t normally have with Him.

But my least favorite vacations were the years my parents went to church camp with us.

Deb and I were often at the same camp the same week, and I loved that. But the times when our parents went . . .  *sigh*

A few times, only Mom went along to sponsor. That wasn’t too bad.

One year there was also a really cute TU football player there as a sponsor. The last day of camp, he came staggering in while we were eating lunch. He was nasty dirty, hot and sweaty. He said he’d run all the way from C-Town to deliver a letter to Ronnie Epps, our preacher and the camp dean.

Then the football player collapsed on the floor.

Ronnie left the guy lying there to recover and went ahead with whatever we were doing. Since it was the last day of camp, one of the things that happened was the presentation of the New Camper Award to my mom.

When Ronnie called her name, Mom looked kind of embarrassed, but Ronnie kept saying, “Come on up here, Mary Sue.”

She got up and walked to where the preachers were standing. They made a speech about what a great camper and good helper she’d been. Just when they were about to give her the trophy, the “collapsed” football player jumped up off the floor, yelled, “Baby!” or “I found you,” or something stupid, grabbed Mom and carried her out of the building, with her squealing all the way.

Most of the kids screamed with laughter, but my friends and I were shocked. Of course it was all a joke, and the football guy had chosen Mom because she was the smallest sponsor there.

Mom got covered with mud. She was a great sport and made a joke, telling the camp we had to take a special offering so she could buy more clothes, because she didn’t have anything else to wear.

When it was all over, it really was kind of fun.

A couple of years though, Mom and Dad and all my siblings (except Amy, who wasn’t born yet) went to camp with us. For some reason, I just didn’t enjoy it a lot.

They didn’t expect us to all sit together or anything, but I always kind of looked forward to the independence of being at camp for a week. Having to manage my money for the canteen and that kind of thing. I liked being free to flirt or fight or have fun without someone who knew what I was going to do before I did it looking on.

There were two huge dorms at Cyokamo–one for boys and one for girls. Jeff (who was two or three years old) slept in the boys’ dorm in the bunk bed over Dad that year. Cindy (seven or eight) and Lisa (four or five) slept around Mom. (Deb and I did our own things–in the same dorm as Mom.)

As usual, on the last night or early morning of camp, some of the girls raided the boys’ dorm. Actually, all they did was run with sticks around the metal building, banging on the tin with them. Some of them threw gravel on the tin roof.

Corregated tin is loud and there was nothing to deaden the noise. The dorm walls were uninsulated, no glass in the windows (only screen) and no air conditioners–only a few fans blowing in the huge room.

Coming like it did in the dead of night, it was LOUD. (I know this because the guys also attacked the girls’ dorm.)

Anyway, Dad had no idea it was coming, so when it happened he jumped out of bed, got tangled in his sheets and tipped over his bunk bed, which Jeffrey was sleeping in the top of.

By that time, Dad was fully awake and, realizing what had happened, he started looking for Jeffrey, frantic that he’d been hurt when he hit that concrete floor.

But Jeff wasn’t on the floor anywhere. When the bed flipped, Jeff landed in another nearby (empty) bunk. And if I remember this whole story right, when Dad found him, he was still asleep.

Let me make this clear–I wasn’t there. (Since I didn’t sleep in the boys’ dorm, I couldn’t be.) But that’s how I heard the story. I think.

That was a long (l-o-n-g) time ago. I’m just repeating what I think remember hearing. (Oy.)

Anyway . . . back to Va-Camp and away from lame stories from my ailing memory–I honestly didn’t mind having my parents go to camp with me.

What I didn’t like was JUST going to camp not going someplace else, too,  on vacation. 😉

What were your least favorite vacations?

The finest Christian camp I know
You’ll feel the Christian glow
Right from the first hello.
You’ll find new faith and make new friends At old CYOKAMO,

You’ll sing and pray and read God’s word
Until at last you know
Your life will surely show That
you love Jesus so
You’ll find a bit of heaven there

We’ll say goodbye to dream a while
And all the joys we know
Like Heaven here below
God keep you till another day

Author: Susan Shay

For as long as I can remember, I've loved two things--reading and people--and that led me to become a writer. Many of my stories are set in Small Town Worlds. I'm a wife, mother, sibling and an aunt. I have a deep faith in God, and an exciting life in Christ. Maybe I shouldn't be (after all, he's God!) but I'm constantly amazed at the things He's up to. :)

I'm so glad you dropped by my Small Town World! Hope you'll leave a comment. I really enjoy hearing from you!

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