So I've been very busy over the past few days, visiting the fam down in "The Dirty Souf," preparing to run up to Nashville to see my friend Tiff's GORGEOUS new baby, and getting all my stuff ready for this, a trip that is always the highlight of my year!
However, before I leave to get my beach on, I had to share a little summertime memory with all of you. A former student of The Husband's is spending this summer acting as a camp counselor, and this led to a discussion between me and The Husband about camp, namely whether we'd ever been. The Husband has never been to camp, spending his summers riding around town on his bike, getting free lunch from the school cafeteria (in the summer! Who knew some schools did this? Not me!), and... I don't know, throwing bricks or whatever other shenanigans young boys get into.
But me? Oh, yeah, I went to camp. A little camp we shall call Camp Winna-WTF?, AKA THE MOST INSANE PLACE EVER.
Now, first of all, let me say that I have no idea what posessed my parents to send me to camp in the first place. Granted, it was only for a week and not an entire summer, but still. I was not exactly a "camp-y" kid. Even at the age of 8, my likes and dislikes were pretty firmly defined. A helpful chart:
Not being hot
Being left all the hell alone
Arts and Crafts
Forced social interaction
So, yeah, camp and me? Not a great fit.
On the upside, I did spend that week reading The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe twice, and Anne of Green Gables once, thus earning myself the nickname, "That Freaky Girl Who Reads A Lot And Also Cries Because She Is Hot."
So it wasn't a total bust.
Anyway, I was telling The Husband all of this and he was laughing at me (a regular occurence), and then I got to the story of what happened the last night of camp, and his laughter slowly began to fade as the look of amusement gave way to one of horror, followed by total silence that was finally broken by him saying, "Uh....Rachel? That's f&%@ed up."
And dear readers, it was. In fact, I didn't really realize HOW weird it was until I was telling The Husband. I mean, when you're 8, life is still kind of weird and new, so you tend to be a little more open to things like the insanity that happened that last night at camp.
Here's what went down:
That last night, we lined up and walked down to the little stone amphitheatre where we watched a totally weird play about the Holy Grail.
So after we watched said weird play (which honestly I don't remember that much about other than my cabin's counselors were in it. It was the pretty standard, "Galahad finds the Grail, ascends to heaven" thing), we were told we had to be silent for the rest of the night. Then we were given little white candles wrapped in tin foil. This is where the not talking part got hard, as it's really difficult to hold back squeaks of pain while hot wax is drippping down your hand.
So we made our silent, candlelit vigil back towards to bridge which connected the cabin ares with the rest of the camp, only to find that bridge...
ON F&$@ING FIRE!
Apparently, when Galahad ascended to Heaven, he did so on a flaming bridge, so every year after The Best Little Grail Hunt in Alabama play, Camp Winna-WTF? burned a big honking hole in the bridge all symbolically or something.
You know, because if there's one thing little 8 year old girls appreciate, it's highly symbolic religious acts.
To cross the bridge, we had to go one at time, riding piggyback on the only boy counselors at Camp Winna-WTF? (Yeah. I know.)
The bridge was really high and over rushing water, but I couldn't really see anything due to the smoke, flames, and hysterical blindness I was experiencing due to the mind numbing terror.
I have this super clear memory of burying my face in the back of some creepy 16 year old boy as I breathed in smoke, nearly peeing myself with fear when he JUMPED OVER THE BIG HONKING HOLE. Looking back, there probably wasn't an ACTUAL hole, but at 8, I totally believed that I was about to die.
Now, I know as you're all reading this, you are thinking, "Rachel, I love you, but there is no way in hell that at summer camp, you were forced to watch a Grail play, participate in a mute, candlelight vigil, and then carried across a burning bridge. I know you make your living as a fiction writer, but this time you have gone too far!"
To which I say, "Fair point."
Except, CHECK THIS OUT, SUCKERS!!
That's right. Not only does this shit really happen, they are proud of it. They have a whole section devoted to it on their website! (Sidenote: The Husband just looked at that section and said sagely, "Well, at least they have all their freaky shit right out there in the open." Hee hee!)
Jesus. Is it any wonder I never went to camp again?
(Sidenote #2: I just noticed that the Camp Winna-WTF website says they have an "Asthma Camp" called "Camp Wheezeaway." I'll just...snort... go and uh... giggle... reserve my seat in hell... wipes tears...um...now.