October 8, 2021
Imagination, Day 39
Well,” said Pooh, “what I like best,” and then he had to stop and think. Because although Eating Honey was a very good thing to do, there was a moment just before you began to eat it which was better than when you were, but he didn’t know what it was called.”
― A. A. Milne,Winnie The Pooh
When I was young, maybe around ten or eleven, I was told of the wonderful good time I would have when I went to church camp. St. Matthew’s Lutheran Church promoted the idea of sending the children to Lutheridge in the mountains of North Carolina. The parents were promised that their children would return home as well-behaved, wholesome, and well-adjusted members of the church and community. The children would learn the benefits of minding their parents, doing well in school, and eating all their vegetables.
My father and a couple of his cohorts who were all good churchgoing members of the community loaded several of us into a 1955 Chevrolet Bel-Air station wagon. Us kids loved it because we could sit in the rear facing back seat and watch the cars coming and going. We could also push and pinch at each other without getting slapped.
There were three fathers and probably six kids. One of the fathers sat in the middle back seat behind the passenger’s seat and there was a cooler in the center of the bench seat. The men took turns driving on the five hour trip. There was the driver, the navigator in front, and the daddy in the back seat was the bartender. I probably don’t have to mention the cigarettes.
I cannot imagine how much beer was in that cooler, but I do remember my dad polishing one off and tossing the empty can out the window (That practice was pretty much acceptable in the good old days). There was no air conditioning, so the wind flew through the side windows and out the open back window where I sat with my friends.
As for the camp, I remember marching in line to the dining hall, learning that “vespers” were a boring way to end an evening, and that I wasn’t the only young boy who pooted under the covers in the room full of bunk beds and giggled about it.
I was warned that if I told anyone about the fathers drinking all that beer, they would all call me a liar. I never told anyone until now, 65 years later. I think I am safe now, don’t you?