I was in a deep, deep, delicious slumber when I heard the morning bell. Three rings, a pause, three rings, a pause, and three more rings. UGH! I rolled over and looked at my travel clock. It was 8 AM. I had not gotten back into bed, after the disaster that was the first night with camp, until 3 AM. I briefly wondered if the marijuana smoking LIT 1 had gotten picked up before I dozed off into a light sleep again. It was probably two more minutes before I heard the sound of static. It seemed to be coming from downstairs. Seemed kinda weird, but I ignored it. The kids were not awake yet, so I was gonna take full advantage of the extra few moments of quiet. Just as that thought had gone through my head I heard the opening chords of “Purple Haze” at about 110 decibels. The base made the floor vibrate. Dear Lord! I sat bolt upright and quickly climbed down the ladder. My son’s face was priceless. Pulling his head off the bed (he was up side down in the bunk bed), his mouth was down turned in a frown, and his eyes blinking trying to get his bearings and comprehend what had woken him up. At that moment the girls came busting into our room with stunned expressions.
“Mum!? What is it?” they asked.
“I guess it is a wake up call or something.” I responded shrugging my shoulders and smiling. We all looked at my son, who was still looking completely stunned, and broke out into laughter. At that, he gave a little smile and I picked him up to give him a cuddle.
“What do you think of the alarm clock at camp?” I asked him.
“Too loud Mummy!” He said shaking his head. We all laughed again at that cuz truer words were never spoken!
“Well! I guess we better get ready for breakfast!” I suggested. At that the girls ran back to their room to get dressed for breakfast.
Still in my pajamas, I was getting my son dressed when there was a knock at the door.
“Come in!” I called over Jimi Hendrix. I had thought it would be the girls coming back in, but I was surprised to see a couple of characters at the door. My son, wearing only his pajama bottoms, stared open mouthed up at them. One of them appeared to be the Easter bunny and the other was a dude dressed like Laura Ingalls, complete with a long gingham dress, a frilly white apron over top, a bonnet on his head, and strangely enough a large squirt gun in his hands. The bunny waved at us and said “Hi” in a deep male voice that made me laugh and my son squeal. The girls, still in their PJ’s, pushed there way around ‘Laura’ into the room to get a good look. They covered their mouths and giggled to see the two of them.
“Well hello Nurse’s family!” Said ‘Laura’ in a high falsetto voice. This caused another peal of laughter from the kids. “I am sooooo glad that you are up and out of bed, because do you know whats going to happen to campers and counselors who didn’t get up when the bell rang today, hmmmm?” ‘Laura’ pointed to each of the kids.
They shook their heads and answered “NOOOOO! What?” They were eating this right up.
‘Laura’ patted her massive squirt gun and said, “Why, they get a soaking! That’s what!” And at that she cackled! And of course the kids broke into more animated laughter. The girls even jumped up and down.
“Now get ready for breakfast little ones. The bell with ring again at 8:30 and you had better be down to the dining hall by then!” ‘Laura’ said as she wagged her finger at the kids and turned to leave.
‘Laura’ and the bunny moved on to the room next door. The girls followed behind them a few feet to see what would happen to our next door neighbors. They, apparently, were not yet out of bed, so they suffered the consequences. There was much laughter but mostly screaming as the occupants begged ‘Laura’ and the bunny to go away. “We are up! OK? Now go!!!”
I had finished getting my son dressed when Purple Haze ended.
“Goooooood morning Camp Acorn!” A voice called out over the speakers. “And welcome to day one of the boys session. We are so pumped to have a new group of camper here at Acorn. Now get up, brush your teeth, do something with that bed head….”
That struck me as funny cuz that is exactly what I was wrestling with. I was thinking a baseball hat was really my only option at this point.
“…and get ready for breakfast. We have a whole new day ahead to create memories that will last long past the summer! And now for your listening enjoyment, we have The Who coming up here on Radio Acorn.” And with that ‘Won’t get fooled again’ started blaring out of the speakers.
My son and I went the girls’ room to check on them and see if they were ready for breakfast. Teeth were brushed, hair combed (sort of) and both had shorts and t-shirts on that almost matched. Good enough! As we walked to the main stairwell we heard more screams in the distance so we slipped out onto the balcony to check the progress. Seems like the morning wake up call had completed the guys and girls floors in the main house and were out in the huts now wreaking havoc. We watched for a few minutes and sure enough, ‘Laura’ and the bunny were spotted leaving the Dear hut and heading towards the Cord hut. What a riot! From our vantage point we could see campers and counselors descending upon the main house. Some were still in pajamas, some were dressed and ready for the day. Most looked a little like the walking dead shuffling towards the dining hall entrance. The boys were lining up in front of the dining hall doors, organized into their huts. There was quiet chatter and the sounds of Radio Acorn continued in the background.
By this point it was almost 8:30 so we hustled down to the dining hall. We found Father Brian and Bill already there and with a steaming cup of coffee ready for me again today. Apparently even getting a cup of coffee is a feat at camp when in session because so many of the teenaged counselors were hooked on coffee that the small pot quickly ran out. As a result about five pots of coffee had to be made during breakfast to meet everyone’s needs. Often I would see a line up of counselors hovering by the coffee pot, they were so desperate for their cup ‘o java.
At about 8:35 all the campers had been accounted for, minus the pot smoking camper who, indeed, had been safely picked up at 4:30 AM Bill told me. I scanned the room to find Dave and Erik standing beside the coffee maker and staring at it while it slowly dripped. Needless to say they looked pretty sapped from their late night. Dave broke out into another coughing fit as I watched.
During our breakfast we had a visit from Kim who was in charge of instructions. She let me know that my kids would be taken down to the beach by ‘child care’ during the first instruction for their swimming lesson. My son would be taught the preschool level and the girls would start working on their swimming strokes and water safety skills. By the end of the two week session they would earn their badges! That seemed pretty cool. During the other instructions ‘child care’ would keep them busy around camp either doing art’s ‘n crafts, or playing at the beach, or taking them for a canoe ride, or whatever their little hearts desired. During those three hours from 9:30 until 12:30 I had free time to do whatever I wanted. Every day. Three blessed hours. Of peace and quiet. Of time to myself! How was I going to fill that?! My mind draws a complete blank.