Let’s go to town!


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Attempting to reenter an up side down, floating, half water logged kayak was well beyond my capabilities at this point in the game, so instead I just kicked my boat into shore. My Teva sandals were pretty easy to swim in and thankfully did not fall off (not that they could!). When I arrived at the shore Caroline was very apologetic. I waved away her apologies. I had just discovered a new passion, and it was thanks to Caroline. Now, the wet exit I could have done without, and in actual fact have not attempted since! But, I had not come to camp thinking that I would stay clean and dry. And, in the end, the kayaking experience was well worth it. I thanked Caroline profusely, bid her adieu and then with sloshing Tevas and dripping clothes I picked up my back pack and headed down towards the beach to replenish another first aid kit.

I arrived at the beach in time for the end of first instruction. Sammy and Anita were helping my three kids and Yvonne and Shelby get dried off and ready to go to canoeing. I was not sure how much of the canoeing instruction my son would be able to appreciate, but he seemed to be excited about it. Knowing a three year old, he would probably be perfectly happy wandering around the boat house and the canoe dock. He might even get into a canoe.

I set to work replenishing the first aid kit in the tiny beach hut. It was a minor disaster with supplies loose in the kit, some of the empty packaging and used gloves stuffed back into the box. Garbage, admittedly was a problem, of sorts, at camp. 
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The problem with garbage at camp was that one had to be very thoughtful. Camp recycled BIG TIME. In fact, Canadian’s as a whole recycled big time, but camp recycled to an extreme that I had not ever seen before. I had noticed over the previous five days that garbage cans were few and far between. I had one in the nurse’s station but there were none in the bedrooms, for example. This was in an effort to encourage recycling and not just thoughtlessly tossing everything into the garbage. When I asked about this I was told that the camp was charged (fined?) for every bag of garbage, but there was no charge for any recycling. Additionally, the camp was encouraging outdoor activities and culling an appreciation of the environment so it made sense that they would walk the walk. As a result, the maintenance staff would periodically go through all the ‘garbage bags’ and pull out any recyclable items or items for the compost heap and actually physically get into the large recycling bins and stomp on the contents in an effort to reduce the amount of garbage to one bag per week. Yup. One bag, people! Truly awe inspiring. 

After I had pulled out all the debris from the kit, reorganized and restocked, I figured the beach was as a terrific place to chillax and dry out my clothes. I was still soggy from my kayaking incident as evidenced by the small puddle that had formed under my feet in the hut.

I found another folding chair in the beach hut and pulled it out, and set up shop on the east side of the shore. I pulled off my wet shirt and shorts that I had layered over my bathing suit, and lay them on the nearby picnic table. The sun was baking hot today, so it would not take long for them to dry out. I lathered up with my sun-block and pulled out my now very ragged and dog-eared magazine. I had only managed to get about one third of the way through it by this point of the week. I sat down and fingered through the pages trying to find where I had left off.

“Anne?” I heard a call from a distance. I looked around and could not find the source. 

“Anne!” I heard it again, so I stood up to see if I could see who was calling me. It seemed to be coming from the director’s cottage. Sure enough, there was Barb on the deck waving to me. 
“Wanna go into town with me? We will be back before lunch.”

Town? What town? I didn’t know, but I am NEVER one to turn down any potential for shopping (good or bad) or coffee (good or bad). I was up for the adventure.

“Sure!” I shouted back.

“OK. Then meet me here in ten minutes!” Barb indicated the cottage. I gave her the OK sign.

Ten minutes would require some quick action…but I was not one to be defied by a challenge, again, especially if it involved shopping and/or coffee. So, I whipped the folding chair back into the bag, threw my magazine in my backpack which I tossed over my shoulder, slammed my feet into my sandals, grabbed my wet clothing from the picnic table, and stuffed the chair in the hut as I ran by on my way up to the main house. I jogged up the hill as a couple of mosquitoes decided to chase me, and ignored my burning thighs as I stomped up the stairs. In my room I hung my wet clothing on the wall hooks, and quickly located a dry pair of shorts and a shirt and threw them over my damp bathing suit. I took a quick swipe of deodorant. I was not certain, but I was pretty sure that this outfit would do. It would have to, as time was of the essence! I threw a baseball hat on over my unruly curls, grabbed my sunglasses and my purse. I ran into the office. Brian was in there.

“Hey Brian I wondered if it would be OK if I went into town with Barb?” I said breathlessly.

“Oh yah for sure. Just let one of the senior staff know. Oh and be sure to put a note on the white board outside your office. When will you be back?”

“By lunch apparently. Ummm…where would I find a senior staffer?” I asked trying to calculate how many more minutes I had left.

“I last saw Lydia in the dining hall about 20 minutes ago.” Brian said helpfully.

“Sweet. Thanks Brian!” 
With that I took off and tore down the stairs to the second floor where I wrote a quick “Gone into town, back by lunch! Please see Lydia!” on my white board. Then I tore down the stairs again to the dining hall. No Lydia. I popped my head into the kitchen and found Shawn in there ordering supplies.

“Hey Shawn! Have you seen Lydia lately?”

“Yup. She was in the bathroom with the maintenance guys trying to unplug a toilet.” Shawn replied.

“Sweet. Thanks Shawn!” With that I took off for the bathrooms. I found the door propped open and a couple of the maintenance dudes mopping the floor. There was evidence that the unplugging had been a bit of an ordeal. There was a heavy funk in the air. Trying to breathe through my mouth I asked if they had seen Lydia. I was directed toward to the upper field.

I shot out the door. I was glistening by now and was thankful I had put on the deodorant! I jogged down the driveway towards the upper field, continuing to ignore the burning in my thighs, the new searing pain in my lungs, and the four deer flies who apparently found me most attractive even as I waved my arms erratically about my head. Sure enough, I caught sight of Lydia talking to a couple of the counselors who were teaching archery. As I approached, the two counselors looked up and saw me. I was breathless, sweaty, and swatting at the deer flies. Lydia turned to follow their gaze. When she saw me, Lydia took in a sharp breath.

“Anne! What’s the matter?” She looked frightened.

“Nothing!” I said innocently. “Gasp…gasp. I was just wondering…gasp… if you could cover…gasp…me….while I went into town with…gasp….Barb? Back…cough!…by lunch.” I explained as I continued to try to slow my breathing and swat at the flies, aware that I probably looked like a total loser.

“Ohh! Yes. That will be fine. I was worried that there was some sort of emergency or something!” Lydia giggled. I realized that I was quite a sight.

“Nope. Sorry! No emergency. Just shopping!” I said as I turned toward the cottage and waved over my shoulder. How freaking embarrassing.

As I walked away I worked to settle my breathing down and I looked forward to the moment when my thighs would stop protesting. Man! I was outta shape!
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